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By Clint Patterson, Director of Communications, Microsoft Office Division
More great questions. More answers that we hope are great too.
I saw several questions today on Office desktop apps, so the first five really focus on the options there, including some 'splaining around Microsoft Access. The rest cover ground from domains to voice.
I also want to point folks to some great resources for Office 365. The Office 365 website is more than pretty pictures (but it has those too). It includes a detailed QA, and some great product detail. In addition, there is Office 365 transition center for great information and discussion on transitioning to Office 365 from BPOS.
In addition, if you have a Microsoft partner, they are a great resource and I encourage you to reach out to them. If you don't have a partner, you can find one here.
We are seeing an overwhelming response to beta. If you have already signed up, stay tuned for an e-mail in a couple weeks to let you know next steps. Because the beta is limited, everyone won't be in the first round of testing, but we'll expand over time. So if you haven't signed up, do it now to reserve your place in line.
The Office 365 experience is always best with Office desktop apps. With Office 365, you can get Office desktop apps in a flexible, pay-as-you-go, per user service model. This really provides the best experience of Office on the PC, mobile phone, and browser.
If you already have Office desktop apps (2007 SP2 or later on PC; 2008 or later on Mac), you can use those with Office 365. But, even if you already have a compatible version, you may want to get Office desktop apps with Office 365 for a few reasons:
No. It does not include Office desktop apps as part of the core $6 offering. Office 365 for small businesses includes:
You can, however, add Office Professional Plus desktop apps to Office 365 for small business. See the next question.
There are two main options:
Office Professional Plus includes the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access, InfoPath, SharePoint Workspace and Lync.
You get a full copy of Access and can run your applications on it locally. You can also sync it with your public web site using Access Services. Imagine you store your inventory in Access and want that to show up on your web site. You can sync the database to SharePoint Online, make few adjustments using the site designer, and voila, your inventory shows up on your web site. You choose what appears publically. For more information about Access, here's a video from the product team.
(Click-to-run is technology that allows you to use software that is running on another computer via an Internet connection.)
This is not click-to-run. It runs locally for the best performance, but it is downloaded from, licensed by and updated via the cloud with Office 365. So you get the flexibility of a service model. For example, an administrator can go to the admin console in Office 365 and give me a license to Office Professional Plus. I download Office Professional Plus and run it, and it gets updated regularly via the cloud. If the admin decides I no longer get a license, she can go to the same admin console and give my license to you, and my Office Professional Plus will go into "reduced functionality mode". Meaning, I can view my content, but I can't edit, create, print or save. I am now sad and envious of your productivity power.
Today, you can already make PC-to-PC VoIP calls with BPOS. At launch, Lync Online will add audio/video federation (pc-to-pc calls across companies) and online meetings (multi-party Lync audio/video/web conferencing sessions. We plan to make voice calling capabilities (i.e. Lync to PSTN calling) available via Lync Online in the future, so stay tuned to more details on that down the road.
With Office 365 for enterprises, customers can choose an offer that includes rights to Lync Server for full enterprise voice support on-premises. Lync Server will integrate with Exchange Online for voice mail and presence information. More details and recommended configurations for how to deploy Lync Server working with Office 365 are in the works. You can read up on Lync Server capabilities on the Lync web site.
Data is stored in geo-redundant data centers nearest to the customer's headquarters. We have industry-leading data centers in the US, Ireland, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Singapore, and other locations. Not all data center locations are disclosed to ensure privacy and security. You can read more about our data centers and even see some video footage of them at the Microsoft Global Foundation Services (the data center people) web site.
We take our responsibility to safeguard customer data very seriously, whether the customer is using our cloud service or our desktop and server software. Many of our security practices are not public or are shared with customers only confidentially to ensure that we can continue to provide the highest levels of security.
Our services are built to adhere to strict privacy standards as described in our security white paper "Microsoft's Privacy Guidelines for Developing Software Products and Services." This set of standards helps ensure that protections are incorporated into our products and services. We also have a pretty in-depth Trustworthy Computing Privacy web site that you can check out for more questions.
After 20 years working with businesses, we understand the gravity of this topic, but we do more than understand - we put the resources behind it to ensure our customers can rest easy.
With Exchange Online, you can create e-mail aliases (for example email@example.com) using the public groups feature without expending a license. You can then determine who in your organizations can access e-mail to these aliases.
You also have the option of creating a shared mailbox for the alias, so that any employee could respond as firstname.lastname@example.org. This approach requires a bit more legwork (running a few commands in Remote PowerShell).
Yes. You will be able to easily add your custom domain and use it for your Office 365 e-mail and/or public web site.
Keep your questions coming, and we will keep answering them!
I am very excited to see what could be done with Office 365/Lync with PTSN calling. Is pricing available for the right to use an on premise Lync Server?
Currently, Microsoft is offering BPOS directly to customers without partner involvement (i.e. no POR required). I assume this will be the same with Office365 as well. What is the incentive for partners to get involved with BPOS and/or Office365. As an end user customer, why would I go through a middle man if I can get the same thing from the source?
Will you be able to store documents in the cloud? If so, how much storage is included? Will documents be able to be synced to your desktops?
Today we have developed several websites using MS Office Live for Small Business. Small Businesses love it, especially Contact Manager where they see their web contacts coming in from the website. I have not seen this feature in the Sharepoint Online Site Design feature for small businesses. I hope that feature will be available. Please let me know if that feature is there.
The other feature that customers like the most is that contacts created in Contact Manager, can be assigned a user created Contact Group. For instance, a webcontact comes in, and the admin can assign that contact to the group “Prospect students for Nov Class 2010”. Then if the sales person convinces the student to register, he/she can reassign that student to the group “Students for Nov class 2010”. In this way you can track leads through the sales cycle.
Awesome thanks for clarifing things!
Thanks Clint, this is great information.
Re #3: Office Professional Plus desktop client subscription is a fantastic deal. And If I'm not mistaken that covers up to 5 devices.
Re #9: I guess I could get the $2/mo kiosk plan to support this.
One of the remaining questions I have is how Windows Phone 7 is managed from Office 365? If Office 365 IDs are in fact Windows Live IDs, then I guess there should be no issue accessing that part of Windows Live.
As a current BPOS user, we currently able to download the office communicator as part of the BPOS package. Just wondering, with the release of Office 365, will Lync available for download or we must subscribe to the office professional plus package in order to download this app. This is very important to us as we use Office Communicator as our main communication tools in the office.
Can I use Office 365 and generate documents and save them on my own file server corporate ? Now, we have a corporative domain, can we transfer to your servers, what about the confidence of this data ??
Is all Sharepoint 2010 Insights functionality available? Will it be possible to create and use (external) datasource like a Data Warehouse, SSAS Cubes or Azure databases?
I would like to know if the 5 seats minimum required for BPOS will still apply to Office 365 or I will be able to get only 1 user/seat at $6 (assuming I need only one)?
@Toon Six, I completely agree that the Office Live Small Business - Contact Manager app needs to be ported to Office 365 and supported by the Contact form module. This brings up a question about the Forms/List modules available on Office Live Small Business. If these are not available with Office 365, that would be a whopping show stopper. Can anyone confirm if these will or will not be available?
Wow what great feedback! As long as you completely ignore the Office Live Small Business customers that you currently have. A great number of OLSB users have no use for most of these features that you are offering. Or should I say forcing upon us with the only alternative being to trash all of the work that we have put into our websites. You want a few questions well here:
***Why are you dumping your current customers into the proverbial trash bin?
***Why is it impossible for you to keep the OLSB service running or at least offer a hosting and e-mail only option to 365?
***Are you getting out of the domain game, or will you still be allowing domain renewals through this new service and if so, then do you expect to be more proficient than in the past?
***Will there be a constant readjustment to terms and conditions with subsequent loss of "guaranteed" features as we have seen with every other Office online product?
***How many years do you expect this service to run before you ditch it's users and force them to convert to another new service?
Unless Microsoft is willing to do something to satisfy it's current customers, you can rest assured that anyone entering into this as a new customer can look forward to the same (constantly diminishing) level of service and support. Microsoft's track record for attempting to enter a market and compete with already established service providers is less than good. And when this service does not live up to Microsoft's expectations you can count on being dumped with little more than a Dear John letter.
will it be available in Turkey soon ?
As an enteprise Microsoft customer we have a lot of apps that integrate with Exchange, Sharepoint and office. Will it still be possible to maintain the integrations if Exchange and Sharepoint are in the cloud? Also, in a similar vein, we frequently have to perform electronic discovery on email and have an third party application that allows us to perform this function. Will this be possible if Exchange is hosted in the cloud instead of on premise?