Office 365 : Quick overview for what’s coming later 2011

So by now, you’ve probably heard of something called Office 365 and know it’s associated with Microsoft Office. Here’s a quick breakdown of what the big deal about this is.

Office 365 Logo

Basically, it replaces something called Business Productivity Online Standard Suite (BPOS), Office Live, and Live@edu. BPOS offers large companies a subscription-based service for Microsoft-hosted Office apps. It can save businesses quite a lot of money in costs since you have Office and Office services running from Microsoft’s servers. However, it was mostly ideal for large companies due to the cost structures and what was offered. Office Live was an earlier effort for individuals and small businesses, that had very basic functionality. Now comes in Office 365.

Office 365 offers hosted versions of Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync. What makes it better than BPOS?

  • Latest 2010 version
  • Cheaper, tiers of pricing (choice!)
  • ability for individual use (used to require 5 or more licenses per account)
  • great for small businesses
  • 25GB e-mail inbox
  • Office Web Apps

So that’s great and everything, but the biggest competitor to this is Google Apps. Google Apps is free, and of course free is always very enticing. So why is Google Apps not necessarily the best choice?

  • No uptime guarantees (if their service goes down, you go down)
  • advanced security features
  • Outlook and BlackBerry compatibility
  • Industry-grade tools like Exchange, SharePoint, etc.

So it’s really nice to see that Microsoft is finally delivering on cloud computing as an option, and hope to see Office 365 be a success. The only bad thing I’d say is that there aren’t any free super-light options, but we’ll see if maybe Microsoft can find a way to make a free version of this. Maybe ad-supported or something.

Personally, I also am not entirely a fan of the name Office 365. Does the naming indicate they want you to use it every day for the rest of your life? I would have preferred it’d be something like Office Pro or Office Cloud or even Office Web? What’s your opinion on Office 365?


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