Microsoft first announced its plans to launch Power BI for Office 365 and Excel users in April 2013. Today, the company revealed that Power BI is now generally available for all Office 365 users, after launching as a preview version in the summer of 2013.
Power BI has been designed to give Excel users a new and better ways to collect, examine, and display mass amounts of data, including viewing spreadsheet data as 3D maps. Microsoft says that Power BI has evolved since it was first announced. In a blog post, the company said:
For example, Power Query in Excel allows you to easily search and access data within your organization or from publically available sources. In addition once you upload your Excel workbooks to Power BI, you can ask questions of your data using natural language search and instantly receive answers in the form of interactive charts or graphs.
Pricing for Power BI comes in three tiers. The cheapest is $33 a month as an add-on for Office 365 E3 and E4 subscribers but it looks like Microsoft has cut that price down to just $20 a month temporarily, judging from the price listing. Power BI as a stand alone service costs $40 a month and users who have Office 365 ProPlus can add Power BI for an extra $52 a month.