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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella hints at Microsoft 365 consumer subscription

Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella (Image credit: Windows Central)

Recently, a couple of Microsoft job postings hinted that the company could be readying a consumer version of Microsoft 365, and now CEO Satya Nadella has lended some credence to that idea. At a recent press event, CNET reports, Nadella said that Microsoft will "soon be talking about" plans for Microsoft 365 consumer subscriptions.

Nadella's comments came as part of a larger statement on Microsoft's commitment to its consumer business. From Nadella:

It's very fair to say, as I said in the very beginning, that we started after all on the consumer side and then over-indexed to the IT side, and we definitely are very focused on bringing that back.

After touching on the success of its Surface and Bing advertising businesses, Nadella turned to Office 365, making a passing mention of Microsoft 365 for consumers:

So I would say Surface is a brand, what we are doing with Office 365 or what we will soon be talking about as Microsoft 365 consumer subscriptions, those would be again completely consumer businesses.

Currently, Microsoft 365 is a subscription offering aimed at enterprise and education customers, bundling Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security. For consumers, it's a little unclear what such a package would off, but ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley previously reported that it could include Windows 10, Skype, Outlook, Office 365, and other services.

In his comments, Nadella raised the possibility that a Microsoft 365 consumer offering could include Xbox tie-ins as well. From Nadella:

We have a structural position in that we have both a console business as well as a PC business which happens to be in fact bigger than the console business when it comes to gaming, and the idea is to aggregate those sockets with a subscription service.

While details such as the services included and pricing are very much a mystery right now, it sounds like we should hear much more about what Microsoft has planned soon.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

39 Comments
  • As always with Microsoft these days just talk it up with nothing concrete to offer. Would it not be more credible to announce Office 365 consumer launches Monday
  • Because maybe it's not coming out that soon?
  • That's still not an 'excuse' for having no real content in the announcement, especially when that's 'So Like Apple' a move to pull. Also, who wants all their services in a basket with a company that has shown it has limited interest in Consumers, and who could spin off their only real consumer offering, X-Box, in a moment?
  • read the line.... "hints" have patience bruh! Where windows stands now, they certainly do have credible to offer
    :)
  • Xbox tie-ins? Now I'm interested.
  • I can see it. I've felt they could offer an all-in-one subscription package that includes Office, OneDrive, and Xbox to tie people to their cloud. They could even offer tiers where the top tier includes more cloud storage and game pass.
  • If they bought Netflix and Spotify, this would bundle together nicely... But I doubt they would ever make such a bold move in the consumer space.
  • Let's hope NOT! I like Netflix and Spotify and don't want the Cold, Grim Hand of Microsoft killing them off after 3 years cuz they rearranged the furniture every 6 months and drove off the subscribers with catastrophic 'upgrades' and huge price changes.
  • Wow, MS should read the comments, and see how they are perceived. Over 70% of people have the same attitude as you about MS, and that's sad.
  • Resurrect MS Money, and Groove, and bundle those in there too, and I'm in! Right now, just can't bring myself to pay the $9.99 a month they charge for O365. Google Docs is free. So is Sheets. So is Google Photos. Sure, they're no where near as elegant as their O365 counterparts, but they're okay enough. Now throw in a decent personal/small business finance app (so I can ditch QuickBooks) and let us get our Groove on again, and I'd happily give them $9.99 a month for life.
  • Well you get onedrive also, compared to other services office 365 is actually cheap then :=)
  • The naming is a little confusing -- there is already an Office 365 plan for consumers. I use it. It's called Office 365 Home. Supports 5 users on one package, each getting their own separate 1TB of OneDrive storage -- great deal. It just doesn't include the additional more enterprise-oriented apps that come with the E-series plans for enterprise. For example, no Teams, no Skype for Business (really just the old Lync, nothing like Skype at all), etc.
  • Article is talking about Microsoft 365 not Office 365 they are different.
  • He's talking about the naming.
  • BlueSky2112, Yeah, as PhilTheCreator commented, I was really just focused on the naming. As a marketing guy, I can say that some words have much better recognition and retention than others. This refers to the audible and visual words themselves (e.g., words with hard sounds or rare letters K's, X's, Q's, and Z's tend to be more memorable than words with common letter soft sounds like L's and S's) and also branding that conjures different meanings will be more memorable relative to each other than related brands. Microsoft 365 and Office 365 will come across as almost the same, because as brands go, Microsoft equates largely in the market mind to Windows and Office. So if Microsoft = Office, and with many also thinking of Office by the longer name Microsoft Office, and with both having the same F and S sounds, there's virtually no mental difference between Microsoft 365 and Office 365. Insiders and loving fans will understand the difference, but to everyone else, that's the same name.
  • I can not see what a Microsoft 365 would offer most people that Office 365 don't? As been said above, Office 365 personal or home offers the use of office and some storage, so unless Ms are going to take away apps on windows unless a subscription is paid for then a Microsoft 365 will offer nothing.
    Ok, they may add something on to do with the Xbox, but a lot of people do not have an xbox or have any interest in having one. I think this Microsoft 365 for consumers if it ever happens will die pretty quickly.
  • Pundits and commenters made the same prediction when Microsoft first announced Officer 365.
  • But with office 365 you get something, the 1TB of online storage for that is a good deal, never mind the office suite.
  • That's right, and you and I don't know what Microsoft will offer in the new package at this time. I'm just pointing out that when subscription based Office was announced comment threads and tech pundits had lots of predictions of failure because apparently everybody wanted to keep buying expensive packages of software every few years.
  • They need more consumer offerings for this to really be successful. Imagine if they bought Netflix and Spotify. This along with Xbox Game Pass and some cloud space would make an excellent bundle.
  • Ms could not even keep their own music service going, so if they grabbed hold of spotify it would cease to exist very quickly, I also think they would muck up Netflix.
  • They'd screw it up and lose interest as it's not Business enough for the vulture capitalists in the corner offices to care about.
  • Microsoft 365 - Access to all of our great products, until we stop supporting them.
  • Because other companies support all their products forever.
  • Because MS drops support at a glance, ships disastrous 'updates' with no support for the little guy in recovery, and loses interest in 'mere consumer goods', as far too many of us know they do and have personally experienced.
  • I can see Microsoft offering a bundle for Windows 10 like they do now with XBOX where a subscription gets you the console, and Xbox Live, and Xbox Game Pass for a yearly fee.
    I would expect it to be a bundle that includes: Windows 10 Home, Office 365, OneDrive, Skype, and Xbox Live.
    Also they would offer a Family Plan that is the same but includes up to 3 Accounts on all of the offerings. All for a flat yearly fee.
    They MAY even offer it with HARDWARE BUNDLES from several vendors: Microsoft, Dell, HP, Samsung, even Xboxes (possibly even mobile phones?)
    It would be the Cloud-oriented cash-cow that Nadela has been trying to get over on the consumer side of the business for the last several years and be the "camels nose under the tent" on the Windows OS side to move it to a subscription service.
    Now, the Windows Store would need some SERIOUS upgrades to support it, but that would not stop them from announcing it.
  • Windows home comes on computers anyway, so what why would that come under the deal? skype is free, unless you do outside calls and I doubt many people do that these days, also Skype is crud these days as MS surely well and truly mucked that up.
  • His head stuck in the cloud. No thanks!
  • Some of the enterprise and education items that are exclusive to those segments but totally valid for "consumers", such as Planner, and Teams would be nice additions.
  • If only they had a music streaming and other consumer oriented services, this might make sense.
  • Don't package products I don't want to buy because you can't sell it to consumers. You're not doing this to bring any focus back to consumers; you're doing this to up your recurring revenue and sell more of the weaker product lines.
  • I hope not, that simply means those of us who actually payed for our Windows 10 license will be paying a subscription fee...
    Plus on top of that people who have bought PCs and laptops also paid that license fee with their purchases. There is no way OEMs are going to swallow that cost as it would eat their profit margins. It works for the enterprise as it means they don't have to sign upto costly software assurance agreements. Instead of chasing profits they need to start investing again by rehiring the QA team and programmatic testers. I sure as hell am not paying a fee for buggy updates and dodgy drivers and I'm not the only one that feels that way.
  • Bundle with Skype? Paid? Wat?
  • when will MS get a CEO that will make MS exciting again? That's all i wanna know.
  • i want Balmer back! I want Windows Phone back, not windows phone 10 or whatever. Just Windows Phone! the mobile space is getting boring and stale. No real competition for innovation!
  • It's pretty sad when Nadella admits MS started their success in consumer, but now hinges returning to consumer success on a bundled product that I don't think even he himself could explain clearly what is, nor explain WHY consumers need it so badly.
  • Just give me a bundle package for Xbox services, I don't care about the PC side of things, and I certainly don't care about the travesty that is Skype.
  • I hope they do Windows + Xbox live + Game Pass + O365 or just XBL + game pass + O365 would be awesome for a consumer M365
  • I do not begin to understand the article. I already, happily, have O365 Home. A bargain. What else are they talking about? Now, if they were to update MS Money, still the best personal finance program despite dating from 2005...