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Today, we are excited to announce that Office 365 is moving to public beta status! Last fall, we introduced Office 365 to the world, and the response was amazing. More than 100,000 organizations, big and small, signed up for to help us test-drive our latest service. Today, we make the beta available to millions more people in 38 countries and regions in 17 languages. You can secure your spot in the beta at www.office365.com, and if you have already signed up to beta test, hold tight because your invite is coming soon!
Customers are already using Office 365 and loving it in the limited beta. Check out this story for some great examples from Dallas Neurosurgical, a small medical practice, and David Kroenke, an independent textbook author. Office 365 has struck a chord with small businesses like these. In fact, more than 70% of those who signed up for the Office 365 beta were small businesses!
Announcing the ‘Ready for Work’ Contest
We’ve been so inspired by these and other stories from small businesses that today we’re launching the “Ready for Work” contest. Five small businesses will win $50,000 each and Office 365 free for a year!* Best of all, we will send one of our executives to work for you – or a charity of your choice – for a day. No task too big or small. We want you to know that we stand behind Office 365, and our team is ready to work for you.
So, go check out our Facebook page and tell us your story. We want to hear:
“What inspires you to work every day and how can Office 365 help you achieve your business vision in the next 365 days?”
Simply submitting your 365 word (or less) story enters you for a chance to win one of five Windows Phones each week. So, don’t wait. Share your story today.
Want to learn more?
If you haven’t read up on Office 365 for small business, check out our series discussing how Office 365 can help your small business stand tall, watch our demos or visit us at Office365.com. And as always we want to hear from you. Leave us a comment below or ask us a question on Twitter and Facebook.
-Allen, Office 365 Product Manager
Correction - that's the current price via Telstra T-Suite, not Microsoft. So, VL customers will get a similar rate to the rest of the world but since we're a small business, we'll need to use a private VPN to buy our services from another country to get them at a price that we can afford.
Are you really saying that in order to gain access to your system, we have to either buy in bulk or use T-Suite?
I'm not sure who you have in Microsoft that has the smallest bit of knowledge of Australian IT, but Telstra is the laughing stock of it. Its services are vastly overpriced considering it owns nearly all of the infastructure.How can ISP's and other providers who piggy-back off Telstra's networks provide services that are pretty much double the service for half the cost?
I am a small-scale business ( less than 10 users) and mobility is somewhat essential and was looking forward to trialling this software however you won't let us.
Sorry, but with Telstra involved, I feel like I should go for Google's offerings instead....
WHEN will we be able to register for the beta in Australia??????????????
Yup, not touching Telstra with a 10-foot cattle prod. Sorry guys, it doesn't matter how good your product is, if you lock it up into exclusive deals with corporations like Tel$tra, you're going to get a lot of people going with Google instead. You've lost 15 seats here.
I don't see the point in forcing Australian customers to go through Telstra. I would much rather set up Office 365 for my small business and those of my friends and family directly through Microsoft. I am sure I would end up with a better value service if Telstra weren't involved.
Case in point—Australia doesn't have access to the Beta despite many enthusiastic IT professionals showing interest (even from comments on this single blog post!)
I want to take the time to point out a few issues we have been seeing. Alot of Beta users are deleting thier production domains from BPOS and adding them to Office365 Beta. This is not recommended at this time. A plan is already in place to move BPOS customers over to Office365 in the future.
It took me just about an hour to setup an fully featured beta account for one of my domains. Outlook, iPhone and Outlook Web Access worked like a charm. Tech support is available. Great job, Microsoft!
It looks like there are a number of people who are unhappy with the agreement with T-Suite, and to be honest I agree. With a company consisting of only 13 staff, I don't have the resources to justify Volume Licencing and from what I am hearing, Telstra's prices are short of criminal compared to what Microsoft offer directly.
I find it very foolish that you are doing this, I mean how come New Zealanders can get it through you directly but we have to use one of the worst Telcos in the country?
Find me a developed country where an ISP who owns the largest network in the country charges $90 for a 25GB internet connection, only after you agree to bundle your other services together....
Please reconsider, the issue here is that the majority of those interested in the service you are offering are smart enough to know that Telstra is a gigantic rip-off.
I was a T-Suite subscriber, for the sole purpose of using Outlook on the web. It was onerous going through T-Suite AND Microsoft, expensive and generally not worth the hassle. Cancelled the T-Suite subscription and went back to Outlook on my hard-drive.
Am very keen for the Office 365 but will not be going through Telstra. We're a team of 6 people, we don't have a dedicated IT person and will not be hiring one. Just give us something that we access through a web browser with a single log-in and I'll be happy.
I cannot get any thong to work Lync does nothing it does not work with the Isp i have no go tried everything???
Welcome to the Microsoft® Office 365 Beta for professionals and small businesses. This email contains your unique, single-use URL that grants you access to the service. ......"
Another dissatisfied Australian who found the link does not apply in Australia.
Why didn't you guys do a simple search on email addresses for .au before you sent these emails out to identify people from Australia? That way you wouldn't be faced with the negative feedback from Australian's that abounds on this blog.
First you shut out many of your business partners from the original beta - the very people who could support you in this deployment. Now we find ourselves shut out again.
Maybe a course on Relationships 101 would have been a good foundation before trying to ascend the heights of 365.
@Alan: Thank you for the feedback. We certainly didn't mean to upset the entire country of Australia, but we completely understand your frustration with us. We do apologize, and I wish I coud offer you more, but there certainly isn't anything I can do but say Sorry.
@Allen_MSFT Sorry? As product manager I would have hoped for something a bit more constructive. Maybe "we're reviewing our infrastructure with a view to offering a limited Beta to our Australian customers" or "we've removed the geographic limitations on the Beta service we are offering in NZ to allow Australians to make use of that service" or "Ho, ho, ho! That was a merry April Fools Day joke we played on you Australia. You all fell for it too! We've just enabled the servers and you should be up and running in the next hour. Exclusive to Telstra - that was one of my best jokes ever!"
You have upset us but we'll forgive you if you do something about it. Just saying "Sorry" is only the first step in reconcilliation... we should know!
Add another small Australian ISV that will never touch Telstra to your list.
Its about time Microsoft clarified its position on this, we have many customers who are aware of your new service (via blogs etc) asking if we can recommend and integrate with office 365. Most are less than 30 staff and will come up against the same issue we have, Telstra. We will EVER be able to sign up without a VL like the rest of the world?
Big mistake, we have a client base of SME's of around 340 firms that trust us to take them for the ride into the cloud. We have been resisting an open move towards Microsoft's competitors for some time including Google Docs. Even at their Enterprise rates they become more attractive than Office365. We were hoping to offer our software in the cloud, Office365, DynamicsCRM and a cloud accounting/payroll/HR offering as a package but it would appear that our clients would be paying more for the Office365 component than anything else. Not good value when they almost all own on-premise licenses of Office and have distrust already for the Telco's, especially Telstra. So I can see that is one component we will drop and opt for the Google packages first. Making it hard to remain a loyal Microsoft Partner fellas!