What's new in Microsoft's Office 365? There's a wiki for that

What's new in Microsoft's Office 365? There's a wiki for that

Summary: Microsoft is now disclosing publicly the new features it is adding to its Office 365 cloud for both small business and enterprise customers.

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I give Microsoft a lot of grief over not being transparent enough with its customers and partners about its product plans. But sometimes the Softies do the right thing.

The Office 365 team has found a way to keep administrators and customers in the loop about new features that the company is adding regularly to the Microsoft-hosted suite of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online. There's now a public Office 365 release wiki that the Softies are updating monthly with information about the new functionality in both the E (enterprise) and P (small business) Office 365 offerings.

In the pre-cloud days, Microsoft was releasing new versions of most of its major products every two, three years. That made it easy to do the big "ta-da" launches where all new features would be revealed at once. However, with cloud deliverables, Microsoft -- like other cloud players -- has needed some new way to keep folks in the loop about constantly updated services.

For a while, the Office 365 team seemed to be moving toward quarterly public disclosures, as Microsoft's official stance was that it was updating Office 365 every four months. But in reality, Microsoft has taken to rolling out new Office 365 features as soon as they're deemed ready. Since the start of this year, the Softies have made a bunch of new capabilities available to Office 365 E and P plan customers in January, February and March.

Here's a sampling of what Microsoft has added to Office 365 since the start of this year from the Office 365 wiki:

  • Research In Motion BlackBerry Business Cloud Services (BBCS) for Microsoft Office 365
  • Microsoft Exchange PST Capture
  • Lync Client-side Recording of conversations/meetings
  • Improved PDF support for SharePoint Online
  • SharePoint Online improved ability to recover SharePoint site collections
  • Storage quota limit increase for Customers with more than 10,500 seats
  • Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) for mobile phones and higher storage limits added to Exchange Online Kiosk plan
  • Office 365 Support for POP and IMAP Connections to Outlook 2003

Granted this is information about recently released updates, and not about updates that are in the works. But it's still a helpful resource for Microsoft customers, partners and us Microsoft watchers, too....

Update: Speaking of all things Office-related, there are some clues (courtesy of SharePoint expert Bjorn Furuknap)  indicating that June might be the month when Microsoft launches the public beta of Office 15 client, servers and the Wave 15 Office 365 updates. Microsoft officials said earlier this year that the one public beta of all three families of Office 15 wares would be "this summer."

Topics: Microsoft, Collaboration, Software

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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11 comments
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  • Oh, great! Now if only...

    ...MS requires their office365 techs to read it! Took forever to get get answers. Then those answers turn out to be wrong, took forever to get "right" answers, then those "right" answers turn out to be wrong, then...
    You get the point.
    MS should really send all their tech to basic "How internet works" class - or i'm gonna start charging for explaining DNS to them... I'm thinking $195 - that's how much Microsoft Product Support Services call costs
    vgrig
    • Wonder if their techs even know it exists

      It's pretty hidden on the Community Site. I only found out about it today. Not sure why they are hiding such a good resource! MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Very true...

        Finding any docs/white papers on Office365 is a big challenge. One thing that drives us mad is that you need to follow dozen of links to different articles for a simple answer.
        vgrig
    • I couldn't agree more

      Think you have it bad?? Answers about Office 365 for Education are even more elusive.

      Here's one major question I have yet to seen addressed. If I have a Campus Desktop agreement (one that covers Windows and MS Office licenses on ALL campus owned computers) do I have to pay again to use the full version of MS Office in Office 365?? No one I've talked to seems to have a clue.
      Its supposedly rolling out 'this summer' which could be in 60 days for all I know. Yet there's no roadmap, no advisement on who will get it first, in what order, if it will be on request, forced by X date... nothing. silence.
      Sometimes, I ask myself why I put up with this crap.
      wendellgee2
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