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Office 365 is in a state of constant evolution, so it’s not at all surprising that Microsoft would attempt to capture some of that work in a new plan (literally, a menu of options sold to customers). At this week’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Orlando, we got the news that the old E4 plan has been replaced as the “premium Office 365 Enterprise Suite” by E5.

According to Microsoft the new plan “will encompass the core value of the modern productivity and collaboration capabilities Office 365 provides today, as well as significant new capabilities including Skype for Business services for real-time communication such as Cloud PBX and PSTN Conferencing, new analytics features like Power BI Pro and Delve Organizational Analytics, and new advanced security features such as eDiscovery, Customer Lockbox, Data Loss Protection (DLP) and Safe Attachments.

Phew! That’s some mouthful, which then begs the question as to just what the E5 plan actually means.

The bottom line is that E5 is Microsoft’s top-of-the-range Office 365 plan that includes literally every piece of functionality available in the service. This includes some features that have been around for a while, some that are brand new, and some that are not yet available, which is why E5 won’t be available for a while (“before the end of the calendar year” 2015). Like many announcements made at major conferences, the news about E5 serves as a heads-up for customers (and in this case, the partners that Microsoft hopes will sell the new plan to customers).

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