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By Clint Patterson, Director of Communications, Microsoft Office Division
This morning, Kurt DelBene and Chris Capossela, the president and vice president of the Microsoft Office Division respectively announced Office 365, opened the beta, and shared the stories of some of our amazing customers and partners. Because not everyone could be with us at the event in San Francisco, we invited media to ask questions via Twitter, and ask you did! We promised to answer them on our blog, and here they are!
Below are the top ten questions we've seen, along with answers. Keep the questions coming, and I'll keep answering.
Office 365 replaces BPOS (and Office Live Small Business and Live@edu), but BPOS will be available until Office 365 launches next year. And, BPOS is still the best path to get in the cloud now.
Existing BPOS customers will able to transition during the year following Office 365 global availability. We know our customers do not like surprises, and so we've taken a very deliberate approach to rolling out Office 365. That approach is designed around the customer and ensuring they are ready for the transition and can get the most of the significant new capabilities we are introducing. Check out our blog today and the new Office 365 transition center for more information and ongoing guidance and discussion about transition.
Yes! Office 365 includes the most compelling elements of OLSB - email, public web sites, and more. While nothing will change for OLSB customers now, the transition to Office 365 will likely begin in late 2011 or early 2012. Customers who choose to have their accounts transitioned will get Office 365 for small businesses for free for three months. More information on Office 365 and Office Live Small Business is available here.
Yes! If you currently have Office for Mac 2008, you can use that seamlessly together with Office 365. However, Office for Mac is not available as part of Office 365. Customers can also get Office Professional Plus desktop software for PCs as part of the service today.
You get a lot of options. We believe that one size does NOT fit all, and customers want choices. That's why we offer a range of options from basic e-mail for $2 per user per month to a complete solution for $27 per user per month that includes full Office Professional Plus desktop software, along with Office Web Apps; the most advanced versions of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online; 24/7 phone support; advanced IT controls; and on-premises use rights for voice - in short, the most complete solution for business productivity available in the cloud. More info and examples of plans is available in the Office 365 Fact Sheet.
Beta sign up is available on office365.microsoft.com. We are initially testing with a few thousand organizations globally and expanding from there. After you sign up, you’ll get two e-mails. The first will confirm that we are reserving your place in line. The second will let you know if you’re in the first round. If you don’t get in the first round, we do plan to expand the beta to more organizations over time. So sign up to reserve your place in line today.
Earlier today, visitors were clicking “submit” on the beta sign up form, and the page was refreshing mistakenly. This will be fixed shortly. Please look for your confirmation e-mail to confirm that your registration was received.
Yes. Slots are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, but we may also select customers to ensure the beta includes a diverse population from companies of all sizes, partners, and different regions around the world. And, of course, we pre-invited some of the customers and partners who have been helping us test alpha versions of Office 365 and our services.
The web site went live at 12 noon pacific today, but it takes time for URLs to propagate across the net around the world. If you experience issues, go straight to the site at http://office365.microsoft.com/.
Yes! We have awesome partners who are getting ready to help our customers get the most from Office 365. You can find one here.
No! With Office 365, we can provide our technology to customers on a more frequent basis, while customers save money at the same time - typically anywhere from 10-50%. Today, the average mid-sized company only upgrades Office every six to seven years. With Office 365, they can always be on the cusp of the next wave in productivity-boosting technology.
There is really no comparison between the two. Office 365 does more for your business and offers enterprise-caliber applications you can trust. This is one of the key reasons businesses, governments and schools worldwide are choosing Microsoft's cloud solutions today, and why we think they'll continue to do so in the future. Tim Harmon at Forrester Research said it well in this article - "[Office 365] leapfrogs beyond current offerings like GoogleApps and IBM's LotusLive".
Keep your questions coming on Twitter, and I'll post answers to the top ones again tomorrow!
How does Office 365 relate to CRM 2011 Online; can I connect my Outlook 365 with CRM Online to get a complete cloud based business environment?
How does this compete with SalesForce.com? Does office365 have sharepoint workflow? How is Dynamics CRM integrated?
If Office 365 replaces BPOS does this mean that the minimum of five users for SMB customers still exist? It's one of the reasons why I haven't signed up for BPOS yet.
Great FAQ's. As someone who was seriously considering Google Apps, I'm glad this came along when it did. I'll wait and do it right. No need to play with Google toys when I can get the real deal with Microsoft!
If I'm a small business but interested in Office 365 Enterprise...do I still have the option to create a public facing company website as is the case with Office 365 Small Business?
Also, are there some details as to how a small business might leverage full voice support on premises? I understand we'll need a Lync server. Will there be an option to add Lync to "Aurora" the business version of Windows Home Server? If so, that would be an ideal for small business like mine.
Follow-up question: Are Office 365 accounts based on Windows Live ID? I plan on purchasing Windows Phone 7 but the phone management console is on Windows Live. Also will the Office 365 web page menus include access to such Windows Live services?
What is the security model for documents and email? Will encryption be offered for documents?
What does this mean for schools using the Live@edu platform. We just moved to Live@edu after a long consideration of Google Apps for education. Is there going to be a cost for this for schools?
We have SBS 2008, but currently don't use Exchange and only use Sharepoint a bit. Would this service complement and connect with SBS or replace those fucntions on SBS?
Is it possible to use this at an enterprise level without implementing email? We are school district where we don't want the potential liability that could happen if we provided email access to students.
How do I migrate from Google?
Is there a special offering for non-profit companies? We are currently using Google Apps for free, but we are paying for Postini.
What about security, and apps we write on Access or port over to SQL? Can you run a web app that we write in-house? Is the security sufficient that we can use it for our medical office? HIPPA rules are very stringent about who can access these types of records. Why isn't Access included in the small office version?
@Ronald Your question is answered in today's QA post. Thanks for asking. Specifically, re Outlook, yes, there is great integration between Outlook and CRM. Check out the CRM site for more info.
@Kam This doesn't compete with Salesforce.com today (aren't they just a CRM company?). Office 365 does include SharePoint workflows. Thanks for asking!
@Sig I answered this on today's top QA post. Thanks for asking!
@Ken Kelly We love you, Ken.
@JohnCz Great deep questions. I answered the first on today's top QA post. For Lync voice, I'll answer that in tomorrow's post. Re Windows Live ID, you don't need a Windows Live ID to use Office 365 or to use your Windows Phone 7 with Office 365. Windows Live services are for consumers, so they are not linked within the Office 365 portal.
We recently purchased MsOffice 2010 for all Desktops and Notebooks.
Will Microsoft offer financial incentives to support a move from MsOffice 2010 to Office 365?