TL;DR: Microsoft 365 Basic is Redmond's latest addition to its Office subscription service (formerly Office 365), which provides users with many useful utilities and applications. For years, consumers were limited to only three tiers for the subscription: Free, Personal, and Family. Microsoft will launch a Basic plan on January 30 for $1.99 per month.
Since 2011, Microsoft 365 has provided a more affordable subscription-based service for Office apps, expanding to include many additional features over the years. Microsoft 365 Basic is a great middle-ground for users who need more features than the free tier, but don't want all that the Personal plan offers.
The Basic option is $1.99 a month, a $5 savings off Microsoft 365 Personal. Basic is essentially the same plan as the Free version but with 100GB of storage instead of 5GB.
In addition to the storage capacity bump, the new subscription will also provide the same apps and features Free customers enjoy, including web-based and mobile versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and OneDrive. Users also get an ad-free experience on Outlook web and mobile.
Basic plan subscribers miss out on extra features found in Personal such as the 1TB of cloud storage, desktop versions of Office apps and Outlook, and improved file encryption. However, the features included in the tier are definitely sufficient for budget-minded consumers. After all, a full terabyte of storage for Office documents is overkill for most.
Microsoft promised that Basic would not replace the free option, however Microsoft will be migrating subscribers of the 100GB OneDrive plan to Microsoft 365 Basic for no additional cost.
Microsoft 365's Basic plan may be worth considering for some users, especially compared to competitors such as Google Workspace, which starts at $6 a month. Adding the tier brings it closer to Apple's iCloud plans, which start at $0.99 for 50GB of storage or $2.99 for 200GB, and Google One that also charges $1.99 for 100GB of storage.