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: