Microsoft Office 365 is built to entice small and large companies that want to stop handling many IT chores in-house and instead entrust the heavy lifting to Microsoft’s servers. This bundle of always-on online services ties in to Office software and is meant to enable access to work, contacts, and calendars from your desktop and mobile devices, including Windows Phone 7, Android, iOS, and BlackBerry smartphones.
Microsoft says that its cloud tools will work with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari on the Mac.
What’s in Microsoft Office 365
Office Professional Plus
This software package is available instead for additional monthly fees of $499 with Office 365. It includes the desktop Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook with Business Contact Manager, OneNote, Publisher, Access, InfoPath, SharePoint Workspace, and Lync.
Office Web Apps
These online editions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote are designed to work seamlessly with the desktop Office.
Microsoft Exchange Online
This service provides mobile access to e-mail, calendar, and contacts.
SharePoint Online lets users manage a Website and a private intranet.You also can publish Access databases to SharePoint Online, which includes Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protection in the Enterprise version of Office 365.
Microsoft Lync, formerly known as Communications Server, is a unified communications tool supporting instant messaging, plus audio and video VoIP calls for online meetings. Options for meetings include whiteboarding and desktop sharing.
Service and Support
Windows Live SkyDrive. Yet another set of tools will be available for educators at kindergarten through high school levels.
over 100,000 people have signed up to request access to Office 365. Several thousand businesses have been testing its rough draft since late last year.More than 3 million businesses already use Google Apps, Office 365’s arch-rival. Who’s ahead? Redmond vaguely says that there are “millions” of users of its BPOS, which will fold into Office 365.