Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

Summary: If you're a current Microsoft cloud customer -- or even someone just kicking the tires of Microsoft's hosted cloud bundle -- here's what you need to know about Office 365, which Microsoft launched on June 28.

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If you're a current Microsoft cloud customer -- or even someone just kicking the tires of Microsoft's hosted cloud bundle -- here's what you need to know about Office 365, which Microsoft launched on June 28.

Office 365 is not Office in the cloud, even though it does include Office Web Apps, the Webified versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Office 365 is a Microsoft-hosted suite of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online -- plus an optional subscription-based version of Office 2010 Professional Plus that runs locally on PCs. The Microsoft-hosted versions of these cloud apps offer subsets of their on-premises server counterparts (Exchange, SharePoint and Lync servers), in terms of features and functionality.

Office 365 replaces the company's Business Productivity Suite (BPOS), Office Live Small Business and Live@edu offerings. As of today, June 28, Office 365 is available in 40 countries.

Office 365 competes head to head with Google Apps, among other cloud-hosted productivity suites.

Microsoft is giving current BPOS users who want to stick with Microsoft a year to migrate to Office 365. The Office Live Small Business migration is slated to happen later this year or early 2012.

At today's Office 365 30-minute launch event in New York City, headlined by CEO Steve Ballmer, there were no surprises -- and no question and answer period for the press, partners and analysts in attendance.

Microsoft announced its plans for Office 365 last fall and has been beta testing the offering for the past couple of months.

Here are some Office 365 posts potentially of interest:

See also:

Topics: Software, Collaboration, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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37 comments
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  • Excellent

    It is actually a beautifull product for small businesses that do not want an Exchange server solution but do want all the functionality that an Exchange server would provide. And it has a lot of extra features that could be interesting for those businesses as well.

    Even single person businesses could use this prodcut especially if they are often mobile.
    IE9
    • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

      @IE9
      interesting point. Does it require full internet access? Otherwise it would be ideal and terrible at the same time for someone often in the mobile. Today I've traveled by train from Cologne to Munich for 4.5 hours and the UMTS (3G) connection was terrible, almost unusable. I'm curious how it is in the US
      patibulo
      • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

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    • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

      @IE9 For business with an existing Exchange infrastructure and Blackberry servers on premises, when will we be able to move to Office 365 with hosted Blackberry support? <a href="http://www.profischnell.com/uebersetzungsbuero/dolmetscher.html">Dolmetscher</a> <a href="http://www.profi-fachuebersetzung.de">Uebersetzung Deutsch Chinesisch</a> <a href="http://www.profi-fachuebersetzungen.de">Uebersetzung Chinesisch Deutsch</a>
      prolanguage1
  • Blackberry support?

    I can't seem to find any information on when Office 365 will support Blackberry devices. For business with an existing Exchange infrastructure and Blackberry servers on premises, when will we be able to move to Office 365 with hosted Blackberry support?
    EAR68
    • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

      @EAR68

      The BES support for O365 is being supplied by RIM, and won't be available until some around December 2011.
      richfrombechtle
      • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

        For business with an existing Exchange infrastructure and Blackberry servers on premises, when will we be able to move to Office 365 with hosted Blackberry support? <a href="http://www.musthighschool.com/must/diploma/">online high school diploma</a>
        jordanhawk
    • Blackberry support

      Yes, the Blackberry support is lagging the rest of the product launch. Here's more on that:

      http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsoft-rim-expected-to-unveil-new-free-hosted-blackberry-service/8939

      Thanks. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

        So it looks like any enterprise with an existing on premises BES will be prevented from moving to Office365 until "sometime later this year". That's a shame.
        EAR68
    • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

      @EAR68
      Here is what you need to know about Microsoft & RIM's agreement for BES in the cloud for Office365. Basically RIM will have BES in their datacenter for Office365 users, it used to be in Microsoft's datacenters, all at 04 per user per month (yes, zero dollars); http://www106.livemeeting.com/cc/plc_usa/viewFormatLMM?ticketID=1cn8n7k8pgqhf7db&WMPSkin=LiveMeeting
      techiegz@...
      • The cutover date is December 2011

        Hi. MS execs told me today they anticipate BES in the cloud being available from RIM in December 2011. Before that, if you want to continue offering BES to your users, one option is to keep your Exchange Server that is accessing BES on premises. Thanks. MJ
        Mary Jo Foley
    • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

      @EAR68 - I saw a Microsoft partner message at one point that said that BPOS subscribers with a certain threshold number of users could apply to Microsoft for BES server services
      dougs.zdnet@...
    • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

      @EAR68 <br>"The ad is misleading"... first, it's not an ad. Second, turning off resultant ads from collected information only cloaks the fact that information is still collected. If there were a concrete method to definitively opt-out of such information collection, then there would be no advantage for Office 365. Can you show me that opt-out method, if not for home users, at least from business users?<br> compatible dvd decoder/a<br><a href="http://amazonpromocode.us/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://amazonpromocode.us/</a>
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  • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

    This is a beautiful product. I'm still trying to figure out whether there are functions that require an Office suite on your desktop or laptop. I predict this is going to be a big success.
    amywohl
    • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

      @amywohl - for full-fidelity document editing, you're still going to want a rich-client office suite on your machine. However, for viewing and light editing of docs, the Web Apps are fine.
      bitcrazed
  • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

    I've been using the beta and I'm impressed. The new SharePoint 2010 is an outstanding upgrade from prior versions. The ease at which you can create and customize sites makes it possible for just about anyone to set up an Intranet site. Exchange is what you'd expect with a 25GB mailbox limit! I like that everything just works out of the box. It doesn't take a tech guru to get things up and running and then you have MS maintaining it for you. No hardware, no upgrades to hassle with. MS will do the backups and disaster recovery as well. All you really need is a good connection to the Internet. A very strong offering that should compete quite well with Google Apps. If I were starting a business today I would hardly need any staff at all. Billing, HR, IT, payroll can all be put in the hands of experts that do only that all day long and you pay based on volume. It's a great model.
    RedM3
    • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

      @RedM3
      YAWN! We've had Notes users with 25GB mailboxes for years now. IIRC we have one with a 60GB mailbox. And it's reliable, something that cannot be said of Exchange.

      Smart businesses do nothing they care about with Microsoft Software. The rest spend lots maintaining the inadequate software.
      itguy10
  • Long anticipated solution

    I am delighted to see that MS finally launched it. I have so many clients that were in the beta or looking to jump on. At $6/user, this is clearly going to be the undisputed market leader in cloud collaboration and productivity in short order.
    Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

      Tim Anderson take on this off the Register.
      h-t-t-p://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/28/office_365_v_google_apps/

      First, note that Office Web Apps ? one of the points of differentiation between Office 365 and its predecessor BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) ? is not suitable for any more than light editing in the browser. Users will still need Office in most cases, as you would expect.

      Second. there is a problem with the Professional/Small Business plans, which are those with a "P" designation. These plans do not support SSL access to SharePoint.
      Although authentication is done through a secure connection, this is a security weakness and a good reason to choose one of the enterprise plans instead.
      Third, SharePoint Workspace, which is meant to let you view and edit SharePoint documents offline and synchronise them later, is poor both in usability and functionality.
      Thanks but no thanks, when all the kinks are fixed maybe. $6 is selling short for all the services.
      choyongpil
      • RE: Microsoft launches Office 365: Here's what you need to know

        @choyongpil
        Google apps $5 per user. Microsoft 365 $6 per user, but still need Microsoft Office. There is an issue with the Pro/Small Business plan so need to use the $24 Enterprise plan.

        Yea there is a cost savings with Microsoft Office 365.
        daikon