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Microsoft Unveils Subscription Version of Office

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 25 comments

Microsoft is taking aim at Google Apps with the launch of a hosted, subscription-based version of Office called Office 365.

Microsoft is no stranger to offering services via the cloud, but Office 365 represents a rebranding of the company's BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) that suggests the Redmond-based company is determined to make its cloud-based services a big success. Previously, the company offered

SharePoint, Lync Online, Exchange, and Office web apps; now they're rolling everything into one, adding the latest version of the Microsoft Office desktop suite, and calling it Office 365.

CNet's Ina Fried writes that very small businesses (under 25 employees) can look forward to prices as low as $6 per user per month, but clarifies that this version includes only the Web-based version of Office. Larger companies will have a range of options, starting with $2 per month for just hosted e-mail, and going as high as $27 per user per month for the most full-featured option, which includes the full Office Pro Plus desktop suite in addition to Sharepoint, Exchange, communications server tools and the online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more.

Availability is scheduled for sometime in 2011. Unfortunately, Microsoft wasn't willing to divulge any more information than that when it came to a release date. However, they company has opened up a limited beta for people who can't wait until next year to try it. The first round of beta testing will only have spots for 2,000 organizations and it's done on a first come, first served basis. Register your interest here.

Read more about Office365 on Microsoft's brand new Office365 blog or check out the demo video below for more on the features of Office 365.

Microsoft Office 365 - OFFICIAL

Source: CNet, TechCrunch, Office365

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  • 11 Hide
    Nesto1000 , October 21, 2010 12:52 AM
    Quote:
    Today office is in over a billion PC's around the world.


    Geez, imagine how many pirate installs there are... O.o
  • 10 Hide
    ta152h , October 21, 2010 12:58 AM
    Another bad excuse for Microsoft to milk people.

    I don't envy them, Office has had all the features almost everyone needed for over a decade. The same with Windows. But they have to keep making money, so they have to come out with new releases or stuff like this to keep their stockholders happy.

    Microsoft would love to milk people every month, instead of trying to convince them their newest version is worth buying (because it invariably isn't anymore). So, this would be ideal for them, but I don't think people will go for it. As much as Microsoft would love to get people used to paying them every month, customers resist this.

    I don't envy Microsoft's position. They have to do goofy stuff like this, which is transparent and embarrassing. It's one thing to compete against another company, it's another to compete against older stuff that already does what people want. It's a bad situation, but this isn't the answer consumers are looking for.

    Their fear of OpenOffice has been showing lately too. I think it will keep gaining traction, and once it gains critical mass, Office is going to have to come down in price. Microsoft should just lower their prices and preempt it, but they won't.
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    Nesto1000 , October 21, 2010 12:52 AM
    Quote:
    Today office is in over a billion PC's around the world.


    Geez, imagine how many pirate installs there are... O.o
  • 3 Hide
    reprotected , October 21, 2010 12:54 AM
    OpenOffice.org is $0 per month. What do you have to say for that Office365? That their non-existent subscription is not really free?
  • 8 Hide
    Simple11 , October 21, 2010 12:56 AM
    Because OO it's not business friendly remember lol
  • 10 Hide
    ta152h , October 21, 2010 12:58 AM
    Another bad excuse for Microsoft to milk people.

    I don't envy them, Office has had all the features almost everyone needed for over a decade. The same with Windows. But they have to keep making money, so they have to come out with new releases or stuff like this to keep their stockholders happy.

    Microsoft would love to milk people every month, instead of trying to convince them their newest version is worth buying (because it invariably isn't anymore). So, this would be ideal for them, but I don't think people will go for it. As much as Microsoft would love to get people used to paying them every month, customers resist this.

    I don't envy Microsoft's position. They have to do goofy stuff like this, which is transparent and embarrassing. It's one thing to compete against another company, it's another to compete against older stuff that already does what people want. It's a bad situation, but this isn't the answer consumers are looking for.

    Their fear of OpenOffice has been showing lately too. I think it will keep gaining traction, and once it gains critical mass, Office is going to have to come down in price. Microsoft should just lower their prices and preempt it, but they won't.
  • 8 Hide
    doyletdude , October 21, 2010 1:02 AM
    reprotectedOpenOffice.org is $0 per month. What do you have to say for that Office365? That their non-existent subscription is not really free?


    Not saying i agree with Microsoft but technically yes, they did already claim that LOL http://www.tomshardware.com/news/OpenOffice.org-OOo-Microsoft-Office-Oracle-Video,11471.html
  • 3 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , October 21, 2010 1:33 AM
    Microsoft Office isn't under fire from OpenOffice.

    If you want a free-quality program, you go with OpenOffice.
    If you want a paid-quality program, you go with Microsoft Office.

    The comparisons are non-existent. There is no Microsoft OneNote equivalent. There is no spell-checking system like the one Office has, and no Ribbon like Office has (again, OneNote).

    There is also no intergral equation editor in OpenOffice (by which I mean I can't create equations by ink or put equations in quickly to a document I'm creating.

    There are no integrated online backups with OpenOffice, either.

    And, have fun with FontWorks! That interface is still extremely clunky.

    You see what you can get for free, and then you see what you can get for a few bucks.

    Myself, I wouldn't trust OpenOffice (or Linux for that matter, but that's a different story) with my most critical data-taking applications.

    You get what you paid for.
    OpenOffice is less than stellar- but it is free.

    But, back on topic:

    Six dollars per user is too much to pay for Microsoft Office.
    For example, in a "business" with about 50 employees and 25 computers with Office on it, that's 300 dollars per month. in less than a year, I've spent more than I paid to own 25 copies of REAL Office 2010, and not the web-based version.
    In one year, I've potentially spent more than the Software Assurance would have cost my business to go to Office 15 (whenever that is).

    We too considered OpenOffice/StarOffice, but that didn't work- because Office 2010 is better (and it was time for an upgrade from Office XP, and not a cross-grade to OpenOffice 3.1.)

    I too will refuse Microsoft Office when it becomes a terrible deal, but until then, it is still indisputably better.

    And one final thing: Do you wonder why they changed the name to Office 365 from "BPOS"? Do you wonder how that acronym would go over?
  • 1 Hide
    dEAne , October 21, 2010 2:20 AM
    I give it a try.
  • 3 Hide
    iamtheking123 , October 21, 2010 2:38 AM
    I think MS has to be getting desperate by now with their Office department. I'm still running Office XP because:

    a) 2007+ doesn't have any new features that make a difference and
    b) I think the ribbon is the worst UI concept ever conceived and is a stunt to convince "new must mean better" kool-aid drinkers to upgrade.

    I also don't use online document storage like Google Docs or Office360whatever because I don't have guaranteed 24/7 access to the internet, and I don't trust something I don't have under my direct control.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 21, 2010 2:51 AM
    if you are a power user then ms office is the way to go but some people don't use it heavily so open office is okay. i am a systems admin and our company cannot afford to buy everyone an ms office. so to those who doesn't need features from ms office i let them use open office and provide some support until they are used to it. it works for them as long as they are get used to it.
  • 2 Hide
    kingssman , October 21, 2010 3:06 AM
    Openoffice.org nuff said
  • -1 Hide
    stm1185 , October 21, 2010 3:23 AM
    reprotectedOpenOffice.org is $0 per month. What do you have to say for that Office365? That their non-existent subscription is not really free?


    You get what you pay for. In the case of OpenOffice.org, a worse product with no support that angers professionals.
  • 5 Hide
    ta152h , October 21, 2010 6:06 AM
    stm1185You get what you pay for. In the case of OpenOffice.org, a worse product with no support that angers professionals.


    Not really. Microsoft sells Office for a lot of money, and it sucks, bad. It does have better support and documentation, but the product itself is slow, heavy-handed, and way too big. It's crap software at a high price.

    With OpenOffice, you have access to the source code. If you are a big company, you probably have programmers, and programmers can actually look at the source and do things you couldn't possibly do with Office. You can customize in way absolutely impossible with Office. I'd rather spend $6000 a month for a programmer, or more, than $27 a month per license if I have a company of 10,000 people, or even 1000, or even 500. There are companies with half a million employees. The opportunity for cost savings is enormous. And, you have in house support and development, so you have more control over it.

    And once you get the code and features working how you wish, you can cut programmer time and save even more money. For a big enough company, there are enormous cost savings in this in the long term.
  • 1 Hide
    alyoshka , October 21, 2010 6:30 AM
    This kind of reminds me of renting a movie without knowing what to expect from it......
  • 2 Hide
    cookoy , October 21, 2010 8:17 AM
    better to wait and let the early adopters try it first and get their feedback on how great or horrible the service really is. the main strong point seems to be easy collaboration/sharing of info among colleagues. you will need fast and reliable internet connection. i hope they got security well figured out. how easy is it for users to configure this on their own? everything passes through the internet, even though you want to send a report to the employee just across your desk?
  • 1 Hide
    sudeshc , October 21, 2010 8:28 AM
    include the pirated ones and the no. will be just double.
  • 2 Hide
    randomizer , October 21, 2010 10:10 AM
    Quote:
    Microsoft sells Office for a lot of money, and it sucks, bad.

    Until I bought Office 2007 (currently running the 2010 beta but will revert soon) I had never really used MS Office, always sticking to StarOffice and OpenOffice. Apart from OpenOffice 1.x (which was horribly unstable) both applications worked reliably. Office 2007 works reliably for me as well, as does 2010. My new job uses 2003 like many businesses and within 2 hours of using it the program had already crashed on me. Fortunately MS includes document recovery. Personally I'd prefer stability instead of band-aid fixes :lol: 
  • 2 Hide
    AndrewMD , October 21, 2010 12:55 PM
    Microsoft is a business, not your friend. You want to use free software, go ahead, Microsoft is not stopping you. What they are doing is giving access to their software to more people.
  • -2 Hide
    ta152h , October 21, 2010 1:45 PM
    AndrewMDMicrosoft is a business, not your friend. You want to use free software, go ahead, Microsoft is not stopping you. What they are doing is giving access to their software to more people.


    Microsoft would stop you from using competitor's products, if they could. They have used monopoly power in the past to destroy competitors, and make manufacturers pay for Windows on every machine they sold, even if they didn't install it on that machine.

    Were you implying people didn't have ummmm, access to Microsoft Office before this? Really?

    This is an old motivation for Microsoft - they want to get people used to paying a subscription and liking it. Because no one needs newer versions of Office, and it's a lot easier to collect money every month than convince people of something that is obviously not true.

    They are in a good position because they have monopolies, but in a bad one because no one needs, or even wants in most cases, their next release. They rape people anyway, by making their licenses for new computers usable only on that computer, so they get to sell new copies even when people don't need a new OS. After all, Dell can't sell a retail copy if it makes the machine cost over $100 more, and the customer doesn't really understand it. And Microsoft certainly doesn't offer a discount on these new licenses if you had an old one. More than that, if you wanted the old OS, you actually had to pay for the new OS, and then a charge on top of it. Yes, that's really fair. You make an OS that I don't want, so I have to pay extra to get the one I do want on my machine, so you can force your bad software down my throat, or I pay out the nose.

    Yes, this is a company I really like and want to do business with. Luckily, they are failures at everything where their monopoly power doesn't hold sway, and are still only matter in operating systems and office software. Oh, and toys that are extremely unreliable, and have created new abbreviations for their frequent failures.
  • -2 Hide
    DjEaZy , October 21, 2010 2:27 PM
    ... they wanna make you dependent... like hock on crack...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 21, 2010 2:48 PM
    If you don't know about openoffice by now, you are not a competent tech.
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