InfoWorld preview: Office 365 beta

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  • The Office Web Apps can't hold a candle to their desktop namesakes, and editing with them is anything but WYSIWYG. Corollary: editing with a phone is incredibly frustrating.
  • SharePoint Team Sites document collections can get huge, and there's no way to effectively organize them.
  • If there's a way to show filename extensions on the Team Site's Documents page, I can't find it.
  • The Web page app inside SharePoint has a cookie-cutter feel with few options but, yes, it does work.
  • Collaborating on edits of a single document takes some discipline and patience: You're locked out of any part of a document that's been changed by a collaborator, until the collaborator saves the document.
  • I don't like the interface in Lync as much as I like Skype, and Lync doesn't seem to run as fast. Maybe that's just me.

Not all is doom and gloom. These are the same, familiar Office applications and Office servers that you've come to know and love -- only you don't need to run your own servers unless you want to, and you can rent the software.

Consultants who have set up their clients with Small Business Server should be looking hard at the benefits of setting up Office 365. Professionals and SME businesses that would find Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync useful now have a good alternative. And it's cheap.

Corporate IT departments will appreciate the way Office 365 can peacefully co-exist with their current operations. Outsourcing server ops is certainly an inviting possibility. Microsoft has the iron and the experience to make it happen relatively painlessly, but whether your specific installation can be migrated to -- and whether your users can be kept happy with -- a one-size-fits-many solution is a tough call.

Office 365 is a compelling package. Give it a try.

This article, "InfoWorld preview: Office 365 beta," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in cloud computing and Windows at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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This story, "InfoWorld preview: Office 365 beta" was originally published by InfoWorld.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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