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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!
Will Sharepoint workspace link up somehow with Sharepoint online? Can Sharepoint online be used as a virtual Groove server or as a place to save sharepoint workspace sites?
I would like to know the answer to webbrewer's question which seem to be ignored:
"Will custom business applications developed in OLSB convert seamlessly and with no data loss to 365?
OLSB currently offers 5 users and 100 branded email accounts (for free). With 1 user in 365, how many email accounts can be attached to a domain name?"
@Ous: SharePoint Online allows for custom application development, but apps written for OLSB will need to be re-written to work with the SharePoint architecture. As for email accounts, see my comments on the latest Product Insights Exchange blog.
Two quick questions...
1. If we add/drop users in the middle of the year how does that affect the year we paid for? Can we add someone on and just pay the difference when we renew at the end of the year? Do we get a credit if we drop a user in the middle of the year?
2. Enterprise Voice, is it going to be offered in 365 at any point with full functionality without requiring on-site equipment/servers?
@Lee, depends on what SKU you want to purchase!. With our small business offer, you can go up and down at any time, no problem. With our Enterprise offer, when you purchase Office 365, you sign up with a 1 yr contract and can choose how many licenses you want to purchase. At any point, you can add users to the exisiting plan. You can only remove licenses at the end of the term of your contract. At any point though, you can move these licenses between users without incurring any charges. Meaning, if you lose one person, but a new employee joins the company, you can just provide that user the license.
And yes, Enterprise voice is offerred with Lync Server with the highest level plans of Office 365. We are working to bring this to Lync Online, but we have no schedule in place to date.
Well, it's been two weeks since the announcement of Office 365 and the response is more than we could have hoped for. Clearly, this is a solution that a lot of customers are excited about, and it's resonated across a lot of Microsoft Web properties. Here's a quick rundown of the resources around the web that will hopefully help you find the content that's most interesting to you.
We have unveiled how Microsoft partners will benefit from selling Office 365 . And we've answered a lot of questions from customers and others . Microsoft experts posted on the transition to from BPOS to Office 365 , and we answered many of their questions , too. If you're on BPOS, be sure to visit the Transition Center for more information. If you're using Office Live Small Business, check out this post about what Office 365 has to offer.
We've also heard about Office 365 from the perspective of the Office , SharePoint , Exchange , and Lync teams, as well as why Office 365 represents the continuation of Microsoft leadership in the productivity space. We even managed to get down to some of the nitty-gritty details of the Office 365 offerings as well as how Office Professional Plus works as a subscription service . Finally, if you're interested in some outside perspectives on Office 365 (and we hope you are), see what Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet, ComputerWorld , and TechCrunch have to say.
Whew! And still months away from launch...so stay tuned to this blog, our Facebook page , and our Twitter feed for all the latest news on Office 365.
-Allen, Office 365 Product Manager
Clint, you stated in #5 I download Office Professional Plus and run it, and it gets updated regularly via the cloud.
Is this really only true for "minor" updates? Would not the next version release (target 2014) need to be deployed as a full, new update?
@Rob: it would probably be a "larger" update, but still pushed automatically to your current version. So yes!
Hi Clint, would love to know the following:
If a customer uses Office 365 for MS Exchange, can they later convert back to an on-premise Exchange 2010 server. In other words, will Microsoft facilitate the migration of the mailbox stores etc. back to an on-premise solution? Are there any pre-requisites to doing so?
We know that Microsoft offers assistance in the other direction, going from on-premise to the cloud, but were not sure what was offered in the other direction.
Will the MS Exchange Online component in Office 365 integrate with a standard on-premise implementation of Microsoft CRM 3.0 (which is a version that is two generations old)? In other words, can an on-premise implementation of MS-CRM 3.0 integrate with Office 365? If the answer is "no," if it were v4 or v5 of MS-CRM, would that change your answer?
Does Microsoft offer migration support/instructions for customers interested in going from an on-premise implementation of MS-CRM 3.0 to Microsoft's hosted version of MS CRM 2011?
I have this situation here.
Multiple domains are hosted in the Zimbra email for the same set of users.
Can this be migrated over to Office 365?
Befor i download free tell me the price of
Inventory management database