Microsoft has announced a new Microsoft 365 plan that will serve as the bottom rung for a group it has dubbed “firstline workers,” people who take calls, ring up sales, interact with customers and spend their shift on factory floors or in the field.

The subscription, unveiled last week, will be labeled Microsoft 365 F1 and is to go on sale April 1.

Because that product title was already taken – a same-named subscription launched two and a half years ago in September 2017 – the previous Microsoft 365 F1 was rebranded as Microsoft 365 F3. (Microsoft has an aversion to even-numbered IDs for its subscriptions.)

Not surprisingly considering its lower-numbered name, Microsoft 365 F1 contains fewer components, offers less functionality and costs less than the new F3 (née F1).

Microsoft 365 F1 costs $4 per user per month, less than half the $10 per user per month of its older, bigger sibling. (That $10 for what’s now marked as F3 was the same as its launch price in 2017.)

That price is the same as Office 365 F3, which was also renamed from its previous F1 designation. That subscription offers many of the same bits as the new Microsoft 365 F1 but lacks some of what the latter contains and includes some of what the rival doesn’t. Among the former: Office 365 F3 doesn’t have access to Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), the comprehensive security and management platform that’s in Microsoft 365 F1. Microsoft 365 F1, meanwhile, doesn’t include OneDrive for Business storage space or rights to Windows Virtual Desktop, which is available in both Microsoft 365 F3 and Office 365 F3.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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