Office 365 Release Date

June 15, 2011  |  1 Comments  |  by Thomas   |  Blog, News

—————————– Update to Post ————————————

Office 365 has officially launched: Full Story here -> Steve Ballmer Webcast

—————————– Update to Post ————————————

New changes to Office 365 Site make it fairly clear that June 28th is likely to be the actual release: Full Story here -> Office 365 Site

—————————– Previous Post ————————————

The Microsoft Office 365 release date has now been announced! First in a variety of obscure blog posts and now independently confirmed by Jon Roskill, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft.

In a sign of the times, the news is verified over twitter.

Over 100,000 customers are already using the beta service, as one of those customers, we are excited to see the service come live.

What is Office 365?

Office 365 is a cloud based service that merges a variety of previously independent Microsoft platforms under a single administration platform. The purpose of this is to bring small and midsized business owners the flexibility and technology controls available to enterprise sized firms. The Office 365 release brings customers an improved cloud solution for Microsoft Office Pro, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online. You can read more about Office 365 Products here.

Microsoft Moves Office 365 Release Date Up

For most of us in the IT industry, this early release date for Office 365 comes as a bit of a surprise. It had been widely hinted that the date was much further around the corner. However, pressure from a number of competing online document services seems to have rallied the troops for a blitz.

Is the iCloud part of “Why Now?”

Microsoft’s release date comes on the heels of Apple’s iCloud announcements and likely seeks to steal some thunder. Ultimately, the end user is not the same though. Office 365 seeks to empower business class customers while the iCloud is largely consumer targeted.

In the words of Microsoft: “With Office 365, your local bakery can get enterprise-calibre software and services for the first time, while a multinational pharmaceutical company can reduce costs and more easily stay current with the latest innovations.” This is ultimately not the same pitch Apple is making at all.

The Office 365 release date will coincide with two version releases: One targeted to enterprise class customers and a second release targeted to smaller businesses. As a beta customer of the Office 365 release myself, it will be nice to finally get full tech support and more options.

Lync Online and Skype?

We have our ear to the ground but there are currently no plans to integrate Microsoft’s Skype purchase into the Office 365 release of Lync yet. Given the strong capabilities of Lync Online, one might speculate that Microsoft plans to integrate the customer base into the established Microsoft brand rather than the Skype’s, however, that remains to be seen. Ultimately, it is great to finally have the release date for Office 365 at all. June 28th is right around the corner.

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