Home users due for a battering with Microsoft 365 subscription stick

Job opening at Redmond points to new consumer services

Fire up the steam-powered speculation machine! A consumer-focused Microsoft 365 subscription is inbound.

While Microsoft has yet to say anything public, a job posting on the Windows giant's site spotted by veteran Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley indicates that the subscription, which Microsoft has spent the last year ramming down the throats of businesses, could be plopping onto the doormat of consumers before long.

The position is within the Microsoft Modern Life & Devices team, which encompasses consumer editions of Office 365, Skype, Bing and the pricey Surface hardware. Within the group, Microsoft is planning a "Subscription Product Marketing" team aimed at building and scaling a Microsoft 365 Consumer Subscription.

The existing Office 365 subscription, aimed at consumers, has been a success, with the Home Edition giving six users the likes of Word, Excel and PowerPoint along with an hour of Skype calls and 1TB of cloudy storage for £7.99 a month.

As for what a Microsoft 365 consumer subscription might entail over and above what is already in Office 365, the company isn't saying. Business, Enterprise and Education customers are already encouraged to get snuggly with the Windows giant, and Microsoft 365 gives them the likes of Windows 10 Pro and beefed up security, alongside the beloved Office 365 apps.

Windows 10 Pro would be overkill for consumers, but upping security beyond the built-in Windows Defender may be in the offing, as could adding additional services; Microsoft has seen success with its Xbox Live subscription, which, other than Office 365, is pretty much the only consumer-focused service it has managed to get users to pay for directly.

Alternatively, Microsoft 365 could end up being an enhanced version of the existing Office 365 sub, with perhaps more Skype minutes and storage beyond the 1TB-per-user of the current product.

A further, tin-foil-hat-wearing possibility is that Microsoft could be considering a subscription-based version of Windows 10, perhaps with Microsoft 365-branded PCs sold at a discount or leased in return for a monthly fee. File that under "highly unlikely" at this stage, although the gang at Redmond hasn't shied away from things that we would have considered unthinkable just a few short years ago.

A Microsoft spokesperson told us the software giant had "nothing to add at this stage". ®

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