Microsoft BPOS Morphs into Office 365

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News from Redmond last night was the announcement of Office 365, the replacement for Microsoft BPOS – Microsoft’s cloud hosted productivity suite, which is due to launch early in 2011 complete with new versions and reduced pricing.

So, what’s new?

Microsoft BPOS

First a quick recap of BPOS: It’s based around the Microsoft Office 2007 technology stack and gets you:

That’s all priced $10 per user per month. (UK pricing is £6.72 per user per month).

Office 365

Office 365 will come in two different flavours: Office 365 Small Business and Office 365 Enterprise. These are based around the Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 technologies and provide new features at reduced prices.

Office 365 Small Business

This suite  provides broadly the same functionality as the current BPOS offering, but with the addition of the Office Web Apps.  It is targeted at businesses with 1-25 staff (with a maximum of 50 staff). Here’s what you get:

  • Exchange Online
  • SharePoint Online – team collaboration based on SharePoint Foundation 2010 including Access Services web database technology
  • Office Online – edit and collaborate on documents in a web browser using Office Web Apps
  • Lync Online – As we reported in September, Lync is the replacement for Office Communicator and Live Meeting and in the ‘Online’ version will provide instant messaging and web conferencing facilities formerly provided by Live Meeting and Communications Online
  • Email Support

The price for all this will be just $6 per user per month. (UK pricing still to be announced).

More detail on Office 365 Small Business is here: http://office365.microsoft.com/en-US/small-business.aspx

Office 365 Enterprise

This suite targets larger organisations and adds full array of SharePoint Server 2010 capabilities.  Here’s the detail:

  • Exchange Online – as Small Business offering, plus email archiving and retention and cross mailbox search for e-discovery scenarios
  • SharePoint Online – as Small Business offering, plus full SharePoint Server 2010 capabilities including portals, social networking capabilities and enterprise search
  • Office Online – as Small Business offering
  • Lync Online – as Small Business offering
  • 24/7 Phone Support

The price for this is $10 per user per month – the same price as the current BPOS offering. (UK pricing still to be announced). In addition you can choose to add the Office Professional Plus client suite to the subscription bundle for an additional $14 per user per month.  That looks an extremely attractive option to us.

More detail on Office 365 Enterprise is here: http://office365.microsoft.com/en-US/enterprise.aspx

Office 365 Beta

Microsoft have announced a limited Beta – sign up for the Beta here: office365.com.  The full launch of Office 365 is expected in early 2011.

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