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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!
Any plans to offer MS project server support with office365?
I've been reading up a little this morning on Microsoft's new online productivity suite for businesses
@David: We are always looking to expand Office 365 to make sure we provide all the best capabilities, but MS Project Server is not a part of the offering right now.
@John Dey: Security is based on access rights, any documents stored on your SharePoint sites will only be accessible to those who you give rights.
@Dave Chan: Office 365 would replace most of these functions. Also see Q5 in this post for more details: community.office365.com/.../ten-more-for-office-365.aspx
@Bob Jones: We support migration from POP3 or IMAP4, which should work find with Gmail. More details here. www.microsoft.com/.../details.aspx
@Nigel: Office 365 will work great with Office 2010, so you are all set!
Will MSDN subcribers be able to get office 365 for free like other office products?
Will office 365 be offered free to msdn subscribers like other office products?
@c & dude: At this time no details have been announced. Speaking off the cuff, I don't think BPOS was offered to MSDN subscribers, so it would seem unlikely that Office 365 would either. Just my guess.
Can I use this product on a closed or private network that does have any connectivity to public networks?
@Mark: I am not sure I fully understand. If you have web access on that network, you should have full functionality of Office 365. You don't have to have your network publicly accessible, you login to the Office 365 portal like you would any online service (hotmail, facebook, yahoo, w/e), and then have access to your Outlook Web App, SharePoint site, etc.
Does that answer your questions? Care to elaborate?
We currently have a client on OSLB. The have exceeded their 75 user license limitation and need more licenses to increase productivity. Does Office 365 plan to incorporate greater than 75 licenses for their enterprise edition of the application?
@Jeffrey: Absolutely, there is no limit to the size you can have for the enterprise edition. The more you want, the more you get.
Can you tell me if custom addins are supported with Office 365?
How would one connect to an internal datasource from excel in office 365?
@Richard: Excel works the same way you would expect it to. Office Pro Plus is the same Office 2010 bits you've been using, and therefore works the same with addins. The rest of Office 365 (Exchange online, SharePoint online and Lync online) just bring additional features and ways to get work done to the existing suite (such as co-authoring, shareing, IM, video calls, etc)
Office365 is really great. I am looking forward to this new service.
1. Will the public facing website have the capability to provide subscription services for internet subscribers? Some companies want to give their clients membership login capabilities to view accounts or even chat amongst other customers in the social network. This off course will be a module separate from the internal backend users who have office365 services available. Paying for employees who uses office365 is fine but customers with membership logins in some sort of SharePoint list is different. How flexible is Office Web Apps in this regards.
2. Will there be an e-store (cart) in the future with PayPal etc... Integration including the capability to sell digital e-books etc..?
3. Will this service be available in Australia?
4. When will financial business software be available as part of the package?
@Cilliers: Great questions, although I am going to have to do a little digging to find out some of the answers. You will have the ability to share you website with outside users, although giving them access requires you to pay, which is obviously not an ideal solution. Maybe you can build that into your subscription price? To be honest you situation is complex, and I would hesitate to speak to the feasability of it without sitting down and really understanding what you mean.
2) Will dig, nothing is announced but this may be coming in the future
3) Absolutely, through Telstra I believe
4) Which software products are you talking about? You can always email the same way you would, and store documents to a SharePoint site. Integration into your external site might start to involve more "Sandbox" work, where you can either contact a partner or if you have the expertise, build your own solution in Visual Studio.