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Compare Microsoft 365 Business Essentials basic vs standard vs premium

Microsoft 365 Business Basic vs Standard vs Premium - The Comparison

In this article, we are comparing the Microsoft 365 Business Basic vs Standard vs Premium to understand their differences better.

Microsoft 365 comes with three major Business plans. You would need to pick the one that you would exactly need depending on the workflow and other requirements you may have. You can choose the one among Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Standard, and Premium.

Related: Microsoft Visio Plan 1 vs Plan 2 – Whats the difference?

Designed to bring all the productivity apps and services from Microsoft under one common platform and one single subscription, you mostly have three different options to pick from – Microsoft 365 Business, Microsoft 365 Business Premium, and Microsoft 365 Business Essentials.

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How does each of them differ from one another? We will check out the three plans and find the differences between the three programs. Before we continue, it may be worthwhile to understand that the preceding Office 365 has changed into Microsoft 365 and has gone through a few name changes.

  • Office 365 Business Essentials has now become Microsoft 365 Business Basic.
  • Office 365 Business Premium has now become Microsoft 365 Business Standard.
  • Office 365 Business has now changed over to Microsoft 365 Apps for business.

With that knowledge, let us compare and analyze the three products and understand their differences.

Comparison of Microsoft 365 Business Essentials vs Business Premium vs Business:

Features Microsoft 365 Business Essentials Microsoft 365 Business Premium Microsoft 365 Business
Office Applications Included Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (PC Only), Outlook Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (PC Only), Outlook
Services Included Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams OneDrive
Maximum number of users 300 300 300
Latest desktop versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint for Windows or Mac Not Included Included Included
Latest desktop versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint for iOS, Android devices (up to 5 phones and 5 tablets) Included Included Included
Microsoft Teams – Desktop and mobile versions Included Included Not Included


Email & calendaring (50 GB mailbox for email hosting with custom email domain address) Included Included Not Included
 1 TB OneDrive for Business file storage and sharing Included Included Included
 Exchange Online Protection – from spam, malware, and other threats Included Included Not Included
Custom permission for accessing crucial business information Included Included Included
Password policy creation Included Included Included
Microsoft Teams for scheduling and planning Not Included Included Not Included
Microsoft Bookings for managing appointments Not Included Included Not Included
MileIQ for real-time precise on-the-go mileage tracking Not Included Included Not Included
24/7 Support for end users via phone, chat, and email Included Included Included
99.9% uptime guarantee Included Included Included
Licensed for commercial use Included Included Included
Money-back guarantee 15 days 15 days 15 days
Price $5


(annual commitment)



(annual commitment)



(annual commitment)

Microsoft 365 Business Basic

Available at $5 per user per month, the Microsoft 365 Business Basic offers you what the name itself means. It does provide you access to the basic features of Microsoft 365 suite and includes Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams. Right from email to an online storage to online meetings, the Microsoft 365 Business Basic provides you with everything that you would necessarily need to carry out your operations.

The availability of fully installed office applications should be yet another major plus point that you would stand to gain with the plan. Of course, you do not get the desktop versions of the Office applications. That would mean it should be the prime option you would prefer if you have already installed the updated Office applications, or maybe you are happy with the web versions of the Office applications.

You would get the email services as part of the plan. Ideally speaking, this is the 100 percent online version of Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Business Standard

This is the next level of Microsoft 365 subscription. It offers you a few more benefits when compared to the Microsoft Office 365 Business Basic. Previously called Office 365 Business Premium, it provides you access to all the features available on Microsoft 365 Business Basic but comes with an additional suite of full Office applications.

Available at $ 12.50 per user per month, the plan lets you install Office applications on 5 PCs or Macs, 5 tablets, and 5 phones. It should be one of the excellent options for small and medium-sized businesses. Of course, you can combine the plan with other extra packages depending on the additional requirements that you may have.

The Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan comes equipped with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Exchange, Publisher, and Access. Please note that Publisher and Access can only be used on the PC, and no online access is available.

Microsoft 365 Apps for business

This plan is made available at $ 8.25 per user per month. This is the mid-tier plan available on Microsoft 365. Previously known as Office 365 Business, it lets you use of the features midway between Microsoft 365 Basic and Microsoft 365 Standard.

The difference in pricing is since the Microsoft Office 365 Apps for Business comes with offline Desktop Office applications. Still, it does not come with other features such as unlimited online meetings, email, and Sway from this subscription. The services available on the platform would include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive, Publisher, and Access. As in the case of Microsoft Office 365, Publisher and Access are available only as Desktop applications.

The features – Microsoft 365 Business Basic vs Standard vs Premium

Having gone through an overview of the three different plans from Microsoft 365, let us now check out a few features offered by the three platforms one by one. That would provide you with a clear understanding of the quality of the service.

Microsoft 365 Business Basic (or erstwhile Office 365 Business Essentials)

The prime features offered by Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan can be summarised as

  • Email and Calendar – You can get access to a business-class email with 50 GB mailbox per user. You should be able to send emails with attachment up to 150 MB in size.
  • Instant Messaging and Online meetings – You get access to a host of options for online meetings as part of the package. You can chat, meet, and collaborate with Microsoft Teams. You can combine messaging, voice calls, and video calls. Get all those options in one single app.
  • Secure Cloud storage – You can get 1 TB OneDrive cloud storage per user with a Business Basic plan. This will enable you to edit and share your documents, photos, and anything else on almost all your devices.

Business Basic plan from Microsoft 365 comes with the following options –

  • Hosting online meetings or video conferencing with up to 250 users
  • Share files with 1 TB OneDrive cloud storage per user.
  • Get access to online versions of all Office applications – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote (plus Access and Publisher for PC only).
  • 50 GB mailbox per user with a custom email domain address.
  • Round the clock phone and web support.

Compatibility – Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 Service Pack 1, and the two most recent versions of macOS

Microsoft Business Standard (or erstwhile Office 365 Business Premium)

The salient features offered by Microsoft Business Standard are –

  • Monthly Updates – You can be assured of the latest features and updates with the fully installed applications. You can get access to apps such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Web and mobile app development – You can quickly build and develop custom business applications. You can either choose to build the apps from scratch or decide to use the built-in templates.
  • Work across all multiple devices – You can get access to Office apps installed on various PCs. You can use your applications and work with Macs, tablets, and mobile devices.
  • Connections and collaborations – You can instantly access to almost everything with your teams that include chat, content, tools, and people with Microsoft Teams.
  • Cloud Storage – As with the basic plan, you can be assured of an enhanced experience with 1 TB OneDrive storage per user. You can edit and share all your documents, photos, and everything else.
  • Intelligent search and discovery – You can have access to all the content and across all your organizations. Go with a smart search across SharePoint, Delve, and Office apps.
  • Intranet and Team sites – You can connect with content, expertise, and processes across different team sites through SharePoint.
  • Automated workflow – You would be able to build automated workflows between your apps and services. All the tasks such as file synchronization, data collection, and other actions with Power Automate.

Microsoft 365 Business Standard plans would include the following options –

  • Get access to desktop versions of Office apps – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote (plus Access and Publisher for PC only).
  • An Email mailbox with 50 GB mailbox with a custom email domain address.
  • Create a hub of teams with Microsoft Teams
  • Online 1 TB OneDrive cloud storage per user.
  • Licensed installation of all office apps on up to five devices.

Compatibility – Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 Service Pack 1, and the two most recent versions of macOS

Microsoft 365 Apps for Business (or erstwhile Office 365 Business)

The significant features offered by the plan include –

  • Monthly updates – Get fully installed features and abilities on all Office apps.
  • Use them across multiple devices – You can use the fully installed Office apps across various devices. Get them installed them on up to PCs, Macs, tablets, and mobile devices.
  • Digital Storytelling – You can create engaging and interactive reports. This would be one of the excellent options for almost every story, presentation, newsletter, and training.
  • Cloud storage – The plan, as with the other two plans, offers you access to 1 TB OneDrive storage per user. You should be able to get access to editing and sharing your documents, photos, and other content.

The options available with Microsoft 365 Apps for Business would include –

  • Get desktop versions of all your Office apps – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote (plus Access and Publisher for PC only).
  • 1 TB OneDrive cloud storage per user.
  • License to install Office desktop apps on up to 5 devices.
  • Update your apps automatically each month.
  • Round the clock help on web and phone.

Compatibility – Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 Service Pack 1, and the two most recent versions of macOS

The head to head Comparison Chart – Microsoft 365 Business Basic vs Standard vs Premium

Having gone through the features and functions offered by each of the plans, how about checking out a few elements in a head to head comparison chart? That would clarify the differences quite clearly enough.

Features Microsoft 365 Business Basic Microsoft 365 Business Standard Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
Email Yes, included Yes, included No
Skype Functionality, Teams, & Yammer Yes, included Yes, included No
OneDrive for Business Yes, included Yes, included Yes, included
Microsoft Apps Online Yes, included Yes, included Yes, included
Microsoft apps Offline No Yes, included Yes, included
Price $5 per user per month $12.50 per user per month $8.25 per user per month

Which among them should you go with?

Each of the plans come with their own advantages and disadvantages. If you are looking for an affordable option that lets you get access to excellent web-based productivity, the best program you can go with would be Microsoft 365 Business Basic. A full-powered option with all desktop applications can e achieved with the help of Microsoft 365 Apps for Business. This is the second-best plan concerning affordability.

If you are looking ahead to a complete package with almost every aspect, the Microsoft 365 Business Standard should be an excellent option. While it may be a little expensive option, it does provide you access to a complete suite of what Microsoft has on offer for you.

Before choosing an Office 365 plan, it is essential to understand the needs of your business. There are many different features available based on the price plan you select. A suitable plan will let you customize your Office 365 subscription according to your company’s needs and budget. Also, it depends on your workflow.

The below list mentions the three Microsoft 365 Business plans:

  1. Microsoft 365 Business Essentials (earlier called Microsoft 365 Business Basic)
  2. Microsoft 365 Business Premium (earlier called Microsoft 365 Business Standard)
  3. Microsoft 365 Business (earlier called Business Premium)

Some users have confusion regarding whether Microsoft 365 and Office 365 the same or not. Well, Microsoft 365 Business is the new naming assigned for all these Office 365 Business plans that were announced in March 2020. All pricing and features remain the same.

Let’s understand in detail about each of these plans:

Microsoft 365 Business Essentials:

It is the most affordable option, i.e., just $5 per month per user, the Microsoft 365 Business Essentials plan offers all the essential features. Right from email to file storage to online meetings, this plan covers the basic online services of Office 365. Moreover, you get access to the Team Sites through SharePoint to allow flawless access and sharing of the critical business documents.

One of the crucial features removed from this plan is the fully installed Office applications. Those customers who already have an advanced version of the Office applications installed or are pleased with the online versions of these applications, this plan is a suitable choice. In case you have distribution email boxes you want to consider adding, then instead of buying one of the costly Office 365 plans, the Business Essentials is useful to consider.

Though you do not get the desktop Office apps, you get the web versions of Microsoft Teams, Office, Exchange, SharePoint, and 1TB of OneDrive storage. One of the best things is you get business email support. All of that comes at $5 per user per month.

The difference between the Business Essentials and Business Premium is the inclusion of the desktop. If the desktop apps are not much use to you and your business, then Office 365 Business Essentials is the right choice. Except for the desktop apps, you get many other tools to boost your productivity.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium:

The Microsoft 365 Business Premium provides a few more features compared to the Essentials plan. This plan comes with all the features of the Business Essentials and also contains the full Office suite on all devices. At the price of $12.50 per month per user, the users gain access to the features and services of Business Essentials. Moreover, they get the ability to install the Office applications on 5 phones, 5 tablets, and 5 PCs or Macs.

In recent times, this plan is the most popular Business Plan choice for all small and medium-sized businesses. It can be combined with some other packages for extra features. With this plan, you get access to Microsoft’s desktop apps, Microsoft Teams, the web versions of Office, SharePoint support, Exchange support, and 1 TB of OneDrive storage. To apparent confusion, you can contact business email support. All these features indicate that this plan is a comprehensive productivity suite covering every useful feature.

It comes with a downside i.e.; its cost seems expensive to some users. The price appears affordable to large businesses, but it is not feasible for small companies that have low overhead. In short, Microsoft 365 Business Premium plan offers you the fundamental Office 365 functionality that most customers require to enhance the productivity of the business.

Microsoft 365 Business:

The Microsoft 365 Business plan is priced as the middle-tier option i.e., $8.25 per month per user. It is known that this plan offers the most basic services, and hence the price is the lowest. It comes installed with the Office desktop applications but does not include additional services such as unlimited email, online meetings, and few more.

This plan does not support Microsoft Team, email and calendaring, and protection against security threats. For tiny businesses, this plan can be the right choice.  It just fulfills the basic needs of your business. However, you can go for advanced plans if you want to streamline the communication and processes in your company.

You get access to every Office desktop apps like Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access, and Publisher. Furthermore, you receive 1TB of OneDrive storage and access to the web versions of the Office apps.

The critical drawback of this plan is its access to powerful desktop applications of Microsoft. There is no access to Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is a comparatively advanced communication tool. It allows you to communicate via video calls, chats, and file sharing.

What’s the difference between these 3 plans?

When evaluating the different requirements of your company, it is essential to note that you can combine and match plans. This holds true as long as you put up with the licensing limit of 300 users for a single program. Moreover, you can customize your subscription as per the requirements of your employees.

Each of the 3 plans comes with their pros and cons. If you need an affordable program that provides access to web-based productivity apps for your employees and Microsoft Teams for communication, then the Office 365 Business Essentials is the right choice. You can get access to plenty of services at just $5 per month per user.

If you just require the fully-functional desktop applications and do not want Microsoft Teams for communication or the business email support, go for the Office 365 Business plan. The Business plan is quite affordable than the other two plans and yet provides all the desktop Office applications to your employees the desktop Office applications. For example, your employees gain access to the OneDrive cloud storage, and access to work on the web through the Office web apps.

To obtain all the features for efficient streamlining of your business, the Office 365 Business Premium is the right choice. Its features justify the price. Though the cost may seem higher, you get Microsoft’s entire offering. Make sure you access everything it offers before subscribing to it. For many businesses, this plan appears to be loaded with lots of unnecessary features.

The 99.9% guaranteed uptime, 24/7 support (through phone, chat, and email), and 15 days money-back guarantee are the basic features included in all 3 plans.

Concluding Note:

Each of the Microsoft 365 Business plans is intended to streamline your business operations and communications. Their features truly justify the price, and they are suitable for most businesses. Choose the one that best suits your business” requirements and budget.

 The Closing Remarks

Well, that was all about how effective the Microsoft 365 provides you access to an enhanced degree of productivity option. Of course, you can study all the three-plan offered by Microsoft and pick the option that best meets your requirements.

We assume we have been of some help in understanding the different features offered by the different plans. That way, you would be able to pick the best features and get access to the best options among the three plans.

More on Microsoft 365:

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