Apple launches iCloud, and now Microsoft is pushing their latest offering, Office 365. The long awaited Microsoft response to Google Apps is based on the hugely popular Microsoft Office. Now you can have it on the cloud as well.
Microsoft has finally released its Office 365 product, after unsuccessful attempts with Business Productivity Suite and Office Live, aiming to meet the collaboration requirements of companies in a Cloud environment.
Before deciding to move to Office 365, here is some of its main features:
Access: For personal users, it only requires a Microsoft Live account, but in order to have storage space on the webmail, you have to pay for Outlook 2007 or 2010.
Usability: It provides access to email, calendar and contacts for up to 25 gigabytes. It can be accessed on Android, Blackberry (except for enterprises), and Macs.
Reliability: 99.9% uptime guaranteed
Features: It integrates Microsoft Exchange, Sharepoint, Lync, Office Professional Plus and Web Apps. However, these products do not offer all of the options on premise software offer. Skype is also expected to be integrated in the Office 365 suite.
Cost: the professional edition costs 6$ per user per month. For enterprises, prices range between 10$ to 27$ a month. For SME’S and enterprises, Google Apps is a fierce competitor offering great prices as well.
Security: Office 365 has the ISO 27001 information security management standard. Microsoft stated that their security experts on staff can provide better security settings than those in-house, a fact which I have argued before.
On the downside, this article does a great job of explaining the shortages of Office 365: http://www.bnet.com/blog/technology-business/microsoft-office-365-shows-how-to-tank-the-cloud-concept/11473. However, I think that this attempt by Microsoft in the clouds is more than welcome. Many enterprises are still reluctant to move to the cloud, due to compliance and security worries, but with all the numerous services that become available at an increasing rate, the reluctance towards implementing cloud computing will fade away.
Photo source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1053376.