Microsoft Office 365 & BPOS

Microsoft made a big announcement today – Office is available online!

Yes Office Web Apps have been with us for a little while but they are lacking many features and, in the corporate world, you need a full Office licence on your desktop to use them. This however is “proper” online Office so, just like the original BPOS offerings such as Exchange & Sharepoint, it exists solely in the cloud…no on premise(s) software required.

There were also name changes, new products and new prices announced today so let’s take a look at the whole shebang!

Office 365

This is the new name for Microsoft’s cloud services, both existing and new. Family members include:

Office 365 Small Business

Office 365 for Enterprise (BPOS V2)

BPOS Government


To be honest, I’m not really sure about the name. Maybe it will grow on me but for now at least, it feels a bit cheap and I’ve already seen people asking what happens on day 366 of a leap year Smile

Office 365 Small Business

This cut down version of Microsoft’s cloud offerings is, as the name suggests, aimed at small businesses with up to 25 users and offers:

  • Exchange Online
  • Sharepoint Online
  • Lync Online
  • Office Web Apps
  • External Web Site

for $6 per user per month.

Office 365 for Enterprise

BPOS V2 aka Union will be available in the first half of 2011, as per Mary Jo Foley’s info.

This will give companies:

  • Office Professional Plus
  • Exchange Online
  • Sharepoint Online
  • Lync Online
  • 24×7 Phone Support
  • On Premise(s) licences

It’s to be noted that the upcoming Wave 14 releases of the online products will introduce dozens of new features that make them much more compelling to businesses, such as the ability to federate Lync and host extranets on Sharepoint:

Read Microsoft BPOS- More new features

All this will cost just $24 per user per month – that is really amazing!


Beta testing across 13 countries has started, with beta sign up available at:

If you can get it to load up for you – I’m having no luck!

Office365 will be available in 40 countries during 2011. It will then expand to include Dynamics CRM 2011 Online (a great product) and then a separate Educational focused offering will arrive, rolling into it Live@EDU.

Follow @Office365 for more info.

I’m already thinking of a number of our clients who will be very interested in Office Online but one question I have already been asked is:

“Can I get Office Online as a separate product?”

I don’t think so but I will check…

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