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Microsoft kills off Premium, rolls features into Office 365
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On October 30, Microsoft announced that it would be bringing some of the benefits of an Premium subscription to the Office 365 package. Later the same day, the company confirmed that it’s closing the paid service to new subscribers altogether. Premium removed all ads from the experience, and offered up some enhanced security measures like spam detection functionality that scanned email attachments, and a malware checker for links shared in emails. Now, users will have to take on an Office 365 subscription to gain access to these features.

However, existing Premium subscribers will be able to maintain their current membership, according to a report from Thurrott. If they choose to renew their subscription the next time it’s up, it will continue to offer the same functionality at the same price.

“The Premium standalone offering is now closed to new subscribers,” reads a support document quietly published to the web by Microsoft. The company’s materials state that the more unique features of the service, like support for a custom domain name, will continue to be supported – but it seems like the end goal is to retire the service entirely. At that point, users will be given a method of transferring their domain to another provider.

In terms of pricing, this might turn out to be a pretty good deal for anyone who was previously subscribing to Premium. The service was priced at $50 per year, whereas Office 365 – which offers plenty more functionality, and most importantly access to software like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint – is only slightly more expensive at $70 for a Personal membership.

Still, it remains to be seen how much of Premium’s functionality will be transferred, and how long it will take for that to happen. Microsoft says that some features have already been added to Office 365, but there’s no timeline on when the rest will make the transition.

Microsoft is clearly trying to bolster the appeal of an Office 365 subscription, while trimming the fat in terms of the paid memberships that it offers to users. That said, it is a bit surprising that Premium didn’t survive a little while longer – the service was only launched in February 2017.

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Brad Jones
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad is an English-born writer currently splitting his time between Edinburgh and Pennsylvania. You can find him on Twitter…
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