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Why is Microsoft 365 so expensive?

The reality is it’s not, but we’ll have to lift the lid a bit to understand why.

Let’s take the example of Microsoft 365 Business Premium which is the most expensive tier for businesses up to 300 people. As of January 2023, Microsoft list Business Premium at £16.60 +VAT per month. This price is based on an annual commitment, which means even though you are paying monthly, you must pay for a whole year. There is a ‘true monthly’ pricing plan (i.e. you can cancel your subscription at any time with a month’s notice) which Microsoft lists at £19.92 +VAT

So what do you actually get for your money?

From the perspective of the end user, you get the Microsoft Office apps such as Word and Excel etc that you’re probably used to using at work. You also get Outlook to handle your email, some cloud based data storage (OneDrive and SharePoint) and Teams for chat and video conferencing.

However, that’s not the whole story.

Alongside the applications you use every day, there are additional apps that you might not be familiar with such as Flow or Planner or Forms. You can access all the bundled apps by logging in to and clicking on the top left corner.

Where Microsoft 365 really delivers its value is in the areas you rarely see.

These include a whole host of background features that help to make your work secure and easy to access.

  • The system manages user accounts, security and permissions, which you can apply to files, folders, MS Teams chats and heaps more. This allows you to control who has access to what, and prevent the bad guys accessing anything at all.

  • The email service also includes spam filtering and phishing detection, keeping your communications safe.

  • Microsoft InTune and Advanced Threat Protection allows you to manage mobile devices such as phones, tablets and laptops and protect any company data that might be on them. We’re all so used to being able to access company email on our phones, that the security implications of doing so often get forgotten.

The biggest advantage of Microsoft 365 Business Premium is that it works regardless of whether you are in the office, working from home or in a hotel somewhere on a business trip.

The equivalent level of functionality would cost you tens of thousands of pounds if you tried to build it yourself from individual Microsoft servers and tools. It’s ironic that the areas of the system people are most used to are actually only a small part of its overall business value.

In other words, even if you never used the Office applications, it would still be great value for money!

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