Microsoft: More than 90 percent of Office 365 users are small businesses

Microsoft officials still won't share numbers of Office 365 subscriptions sold but are claiming Redmond's cloud-hosted app bundle is going gangbusters.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft still isn't sharing publicly the number of Office 365 subscriptions it has sold since it launched its cloud-hosted service bundle in late June of this year. But on November 29, the company did release a bit of new information about its user base, claiming that "more than 90 percent" of early Office 365 adopters are small-business users.

In today's press release, Microsoft also claimed that users are adopting Office 365 eight times faster than they did BPOS, the Business Productivity Online Suite bundle that was the predecessor to Office 365. But no one at the company is willing to share actual user purchase numbers. (Microsoft officials also touted Office 365 growth during the company's latest earnings call, but, again, declined to provide actual sales figures.)

Update: I asked again for more detailed sales figures and was told by a spokesperson: "We are not breaking out the figures, but we can say that Office 365 and BPOS have millions of paid users, and that number is growing substantially."

Update No. 2: Matt Rosoff at Business Insider noted on November 30 that Microsoft COO Kevin Turner claimed Microsoft had "over 5 million seats signed up" for Office 365 as of September. Given Microsoft only launched the product in late June, I wondered whether these were all paid seats. When I asked Microsoft officials for clarification today, I was told (again) that the company isn't divulging sales figures for Office 365.

Office 365 is a suite of Microsoft-hosted applications that include SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online that competes head-to-head with Google Apps. Microsoft offers shared (multitenant) and dedicated (single-tenant) versions of the Office 365 suite at a variety of price points.

On November 29, Microsoft also made available the list of new features that it has added to its Office 365 bundle and individual point products between September and November. (The cumulative list of features has been referred to in the past as its Q4 release, which I blogged about earlier this fall.)

The November updates to both the enterprise and small-business versions of Office 365 include support for the Lync client for Mac (which Microsoft released back in September); support for OS X Lion clients; the ability for administrators to reset their own passwords via SMS or an alternate e-mail address; and the availability of Office 365 trial versions in 22 new markets.

Microsoft didn't share any new availability information today for the Lync client for smartphones, as some had expected. The Softies have been saying for several months that Microsoft is on track to deliver Lync clients for Windows Phone, iPhone, Android phones and other smartphones before the end of calendar 2011.

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