So Microsoft are coming out with the next version of the Office suite called Office 365.
They describe it like this:
Coming soon, Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of our most trusted email, communication and collaboration software like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online with our familiar Office Professional Plus desktop suite.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this all comes together. What’s also going to be interesting is how Mary Jo Foley described the product:
Office 365 is, in part, a rebranding of a number of Microsoft’s existing Online Services. But it’s more than that; it’s a make-over of a number of Microsoft’s highest profile software-as-a-service offerings.
In the first half of 2011, when the company begins moving existing and new customers to Office 365, there will be lots of balls in the air. The Redmondians will need to keep their existing hosted services up and running (hopefully with few to no interruptions) as they update the underlying platform infrastructure. They’ll be implementing to new provisioning and commerce mechanisms, plus adding the first of a number of the new SharePoint, Exchange and Lync communications features that they’ve been promising for the past several months.
The end goal is for Microsoft to be able to take advantage of efficiencies of scale. Currently, Microsoft’s various Online Services teams each has its own schedule for providing updates to their respective platforms. With Office 365, Microsoft is shooting to align the update schedules for BPOS, Live@Edu and Office Live Small Business.
“We can release features every quarter,” said Eron Kelly, Senior Director for Office 365. Microsoft currently is delivering updates to its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) offering in the February/March; June/July; Fall; and just before year-end time frames.
The question I have though, especially in light of the rumor from the previous posts about Windows 8 being renamed Windows 365 is how tightly integrated will Windows 8 be with this suite when it comes out. It would make sense for Windows 8 to be tightly integrated with a cloud offering.
Look at the following Diagram that details Microsoft’s Online Services Architecture
Seems like a slam dunk to me that at some point, an Operating System will be added into the mix…
Very good point, i didn’t think of that.
I think microsoft will still ship a normal non-cloud office version (14) in the next few years, although office 15 will propably see tighter integration with the cloud. Office 365 is currently intended at businesses, enterprises and businesses men on the move who want a ready to deploy solution and intend to save some money on IT personel. I singned up for the beta, unfortunately too late, but it does seem like a very good offer, however I think its too expensive and has enterprise capabilities built in which are just not required by the average windows user. Maybe they will develop a home edition of office 365 which would probably be more appropriate, but I wouldn’t expect this until at least 2012 or windows 8.