There has been a lot of buzz generated by the Microsoft marketing machine with the announcement of Microsoft Office 365. Office 365 is the evolution of Microsoft Online Services, aka BPOS, which has more than 40 million users in businesses worldwide. Here is a quick breakdown of the products available in the initial release of Office 365:
Office Professional Plus
With Microsoft Office Professional Plus, you get the latest version of the Office applications, seamlessly connected and delivered with cloud services, so you can access your documents, email, and calendars from multiple devices. Office Professional Plus includes the new Office Web Apps, online companions to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, which let you review and make light edits to documents directly from a browser. The flexible pay-as-you-go, per-user licensing of Office Professional Plus provides your organization with purchasing flexibility, and robust management and deployment tools give you the IT control to adapt to evolving business needs.
Microsoft Exchange Online is designed for organizations who want to get the benefits of cloud-based email without sacrificing the business-class capabilities that Exchange Server has been providing for decades. Built on the same technology as Exchange Server 2010, Exchange Online provides organizations with the latest capabilities including built-in archiving, optional Conversation View, and MailTips, along with powerful web-based tools for managing online deployments. With Exchange Online, Microsoft handles the ongoing maintenance, patches, and upgrades of the Exchange infrastructure while providing IT administrators the control and flexibility they require.
Microsoft SharePoint Online brings together the familiar SharePoint Server technology now delivered as an online service making the power of the cloud work for your business. SharePoint Online helps businesses create sites to share documents and insights with colleagues, partners and customers.
Microsoft Lync Online is a next-generation cloud communications service that connects people in new ways, anytime, from anywhere. Lync Online provides intuitive communications capabilities across presence, instant messaging, audio/video calling and a rich online meeting experience including PC-audio, video and web conferencing. Transform your interactions with colleagues, customers and partners from today’s hit-and-miss communication to a more collaborative, engaging, and effective experience.
And the follow up question Microsoft is asked frequently - Do you plan to add/integrate
Microsoft has announced that they will bring CRM 2011 Online to the Office 365 family next year as an option for customers who want an even more complete cloud-based business environment. Today, CRM Online works great with Office apps that are part of Office 365, like Outlook.