Microsoft Office 365 beta release date: Now

By Richi Jennings. April 18, 2011.

Office 365 logo (Microsoft)
Updated: If you've been waiting for the Microsoft (MSFT) Office 365 public beta, wait no longer. The release date is here. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers take a gander at it.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention Mere words quaver and fail at the excellence of this video...

Mike Heck looks at it: [is he related to Phil?]

Microsoft ... handles 10 billion ... messages a day and has a 15-year history of deploying and managing massive data centers ... [so] is applying that expertise to several of its popular enterprise products ... all brought together online as Microsoft Office 365.


Office 365 offers predictable costs ($2 to $24 per user, per month), which can be lower than maintaining an in-house data center. ... For casual users, the Office Web Apps are convenient online companions to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote ... letting you access, view, and edit documents directly from your Web browser.  

Tim Conneally adds:

It's been just about six months since Microsoft rolled out the first limited beta ... and now the company is releasing the public beta ... six months before the product's anticipated final launch. ... Office 365 is meant to be a replacement for Office Live Small Business.


The Office 365 Marketplace ... is an "app store" for Office 365 partner apps and services. ... It will have 100 apps and 400 professional services available.  

Elsa Wenzel sells it:

Much of Office 365 will embrace components of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite (BPOS), which includes Exchange, SharePoint, Office Communications Online, and Office Live Meeting.


Office 365 is not [just] a collection of online counterparts to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Microsoft released just such a collection last June as Office Web Apps. ... Both integrate with Office software on your PC ... [and] will work with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari on the Mac.


What's in Microsoft Office 365? Office Professional Plus ... Office Web Apps ... Microsoft Exchange Online ... SharePoint Online ... [and] Lync Online.  

Brian Oliver Bennett notes the oint in the flyment:

The downside? This access comes at a price. ... Businesses with between 1 to 25 employees ... must pay $6 per person per month. ... Sounds like a reasonable price until stacked up against Google’s Google Docs service, which offers much of the same functions but for a flat fee of $50 per year, per employee.


Adding salt to the wound, companies must purchase a separate license for Office on the desktop. What’s more, using ... Office Live, for free, offers the same interface and productivity options as Office 365 ... [excpet for] the ability to collaborate, plus provide and manage access for a group of users.  

But Tony Bradley argues it "virtually pays for itself":

Office 365 is almost a no-brainer for small and medium companies. ... Even the largest organizations could operate more efficiently, and cut costs ... [with] Office 365. ... You have the cost of the server hardware, the OS ... server application ... and the client access licenses. You have the cost of electricity to power the server infrastructure, and ... to run the air conditioning to keep the data center cool. You have the investment ... necessary to perform data backups. And ... the annual compensation and benefits for the IT staff it takes to manage it all.


Combine Office 365 with Windows InTune PC management, and ... free you and your users up to focus on your core business and do what you do best.  


And Finally...

Mere words quaver and fail at the excellence of this video

[hat tip: Rupert Goodwins, who also exhorts us to, "watch to the end of the credits."]  
Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's also the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld, plus The Long View. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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