Microsoft 365 Basic is a gift for cheapskates

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Microsoft is celebrating 10 full years of Microsoft 365 by adding a new Microsoft 365 tier: Microsoft 365 Basic, which will cost just $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year when it launches on January 30.

It’s clear that Microsoft 365 Basic is designed to add new users, and add them to the ongoing treadmill that is Microsoft’s subscription model. But the offerings aren’t half bad, though there’s a catch: Subscribers won’t have access to the desktop versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, just the web and mobile versions of those apps. Otherwise, Microsoft is making 100GB of OneDrive cloud storage available, rather than the 1TB that accompanies the Microsoft 365 Personal ($6.99/mo) and Microsoft 365 Family ($9.99/mo) plans.

Microsoft’s pitch is that the new Basic plan will bring with it “peace of mind,” and the company points to the ability to back up one’s photos as part of that. The Basic plan also offers access to Microsoft support for both Windows 11 and the Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365 apps), too. The free version of Microsoft 365, which includes the web/mobile versions of Microsoft 365 and just 5GB of cloud storage, does not.

Microsoft 365 Basic will add both ransomware recovery and password-protected sharing links in OneDrive later in 2023, Microsoft said.

In addition to the new Microsoft 365 plan, Microsoft also plans to better communicate how OneDrive files are stored. “With this update, you get a simplified overview of your storage usage across Microsoft 365, including OneDrive, Outlook, and more,” Microsoft said.

How your OneDrive storage quota will eventually look.


The key appears to be that Microsoft will now break out various components of your storage quota. In an example, Microsoft showed how the storage quota could be separated into both general OneDrive storage, but also attachments sent along with Outlook email. That’s another useful way to help you clean up your Outlook inbox beyond the ways Microsoft already provides.

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