I've not used Microsoft products for some six years after 24 years of being on nothing but Microsoft. Instead, I am an unashamed Mac fanboi though not without criticism. Even so, Microsoft offers Apple users the opportunity to try out Office 365. Or rather you can check it out provided you are already using "Office for Mac 2011 Service Pack 1 or later version or Office 2008 for Mac 12.2.9 Update or later version and Entourage 2008, Web Services Edition." < see update at end
Let me get this straight. In order to use 365 I have to subscribe to what Mary Jo Foley reports as:
...a hybrid approach with its [Microsoft's] cloud apps bundle.
This is not cloud as I understand the term. Not even remotely close. It's a grotesque child of Microsoft's creation that serves only to ensure that if I want to use Office 365 that I am already licensing something from the company and for which it will want to take an additional minimum of $4 a month per user.
Why can't I simply point to a URL and get going in the same way I can with Google? Regardless of what you or I might think about Google's attitude towards our privacy, you have to give them credit for keeping things simple while Microsoft seems determined to complicate matters. Mary Jo acknowledges:
And it’s hard to deny Office 365’s pricing/packaging complexity. I realize that there can be a trade-off between choice and simplicity, and Microsoft has gone for choice with its myriad Office 365 E plans, K plans, inclusion of a local Office client option, etc., and not a “one-price/package fits all” deal. Google doesn’t have anywhere near the number of pricing options with Apps (though it did recently tweak its own pricing, establishing new criteria for SMBs).
There you have it. Microsoft is wedded to a business model that drives complexity in similar fashion to what I observe happening with Oracle Fusion.
It should be obvious that those days are over. But worse than that, in applying these terms, Microsoft is effectively preventing people like myself the chance to at least see whether Office 365 is a competitive offering. I would have liked that opportunity but for me, Office 365 is dead.
UPDATE: I finally found a way to get into the web apps. It wasn't immediately obvious but I can get in. The problem I faced was that the way Microsoft wanted me to come into the app takes me to the admin section and it is only when I hit 'Home' that I find the web apps. This could be easily solved by putting a bunch of clickable links down the sidebar. Onwards...