Office 365: Part 1 – An Overview

On 19th October, 2010 Microsoft announced Office 365, a new service that brings Office desktop software and Office Web Apps, together with SharePoint, Exchange and Lync in the cloud. Read the Press Release: Microsoft Office 365: The Power to Think Big and Be Small, to Be Big and Act Fast

To know more, click here: Eric Swift on Office 365, Video: Demonstration of Office 365 and Video: Capossela Discusses Office 365

What is Office 365?

Microsoft Office 365 is the next generation of Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) based on the Wave 2010 servers and brings together cloud versions of most trusted communications and collaboration products with the latest version of Office desktop suite. Office 365 is designed to meet the needs of organizations of all sizes – everyone from sole proprietors to small, mid-sized and large businesses and from government agencies to educational institutions.

Office 365 will replace the Microsoft BPOS, Office Live Small Business and Live@edu services, which have millions of users today, and provide more and improved licensing options along with the per-user subscription model for Office Professional Plus 2010 suite.

The Office 365 homepage is here: Microsoft Office 365, and the Team blog is here: Microsoft Office 365 Blog and the FAQs are here: Office 365 FAQ


Dynamics CRM Online will join the Office 365 family of services next year, giving customers a more complete business productivity experience.

Key Benefits
  • Anywhere-access to email, documents, contacts, and calendars on nearly any device
  • Simple and secure collaboration with colleagues and business partners
  • Work seamlessly with Microsoft Office and the other programs your users already count on everyday
  • Comprehensive solutions including desktop productivity applications, portals, extranets, external Web site, instant messaging, voice and video conferencing, Web conferencing, e-mail, voice mail and unified messaging
  • Business-class features including IT-level phone support,  financially-backed 99.9% uptime, geo-redundancy, disaster recovery, and robust security and privacy controls and standards
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing options which give you predictability and flexibility for all or part of your organization
Subscription Plans Announced

Each user who accesses the Office 365 service requires a User Subscription License (USL).Microsoft offers Office 365 subscription plans designed for a variety of organizations. They include plans for infrequent users with light, computer-based workloads; plans designed specifically for small businesses; and plans for large enterprises.

For plan details, feature, benefits and pricing click here: Pricing and Plans – Office 365 Fact Sheet

For Office 365 beta, only following two types of subscriptions are available:

  • The Office 365 (Plan E3) Beta provides the full capabilities of Exchange Online and related services.
  • The Office 365 (Plan K2) Beta is designed for users who require fewer messaging and collaboration features because they are infrequent users.

Office 365 will be available for purchase in 2011.

Microsoft will work with all existing BPOS customers to determine the best time for the customer’s business to make the transition. Customers must make the transition to Office 365 within 12 months of availability to the customer. The Microsoft Office 365 transition center page will be the one stop shop for ongoing guidance and discussion about transition.

As of today, Office 365 Beta is available in Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States. Sign up here: Office 365 Beta

System Requirements

Operating System Requirements

  • Windows XP SP3
  • Windows XP Home is supported but will not support federated identity
  • Windows Media Center edition is supported but will not support federated identity
  • Windows Vista SP2
  • Windows 7
  • Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), 10.6 (Snow Leopard)

Office Client Requirements

  • Office 2007 SP2 or Office 2010
  • Office 2008 for Mac & Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition
  • Office 2011 for Mac and Outlook 2011 for Mac
  • .NET 2.0 or later
  • Lync 2010
  • Communicator for Mac

New Downloads

  • A service connector application that will replace the Sign in application

Browser Requirements – Administration Center and My Company Portal

  • Internet Explorer 7 or above
  • Firefox 3.x
  • Safari 4.x

Browser Requirements – Outlook Web App

  • Internet Explorer 7 or above
  • Firefox 3 or higher
  • Safari 3 or higher on Macintosh OS X 10.5
  • Chrome 3 and later versions
  • Outlook Web App also has a light version that supports a reduced set of features across almost any browser
Security audits

Microsoft regularly assesses the Microsoft Online Services infrastructure to ensure that the latest compliance policies and antivirus signatures are installed, along with high-level configuration settings and required security updates. The services have:

  • Achieved ISO 27001 certification.
  • Completed SAS70 Type I and II audits.
  • Added controls that assist customers in complying with HIPAA and FERPA.
  • Achieved the EU Safe Harbor seal

These certifications and audits apply to the services when they are generally available and do not apply to the Office 365 Beta services.

Note: This post is part of a series of posts on Office 365 Beta. Links: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Comments (1)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Well, it's been two weeks since the announcement of Office 365 and the response is more than we could

Comments are closed.

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