Microsoft is introducing new, cheaper Office 365 subscriptions to businesses in a bid to encourage small businesses into using its office suite. The cost of an Office 365 Personal subscription remains at $6.99 but small to medium-sized businesses -- those with fewer than 300 employees -- are now able to snap up a subscription for just $5 per user per month (which doesn’t match the $1 offer from GoDaddy).
Before you get too excited about this, there is something of a catch. Firstly, there is a commitment to subscribe for a year, and the cheapest package, Office 365 Business Essentials, does not allow for Office's apps -- Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and so on -- to be installed. Opt for the cheap subscription and you're stuck with Office Online.
Most of us have hopefully managed to get off the sinking ship that was Windows XP. As much of a recent memory as that has become, a new end of life is rearing its head, and it's approaching fervently for those who haven't started planning for it. Microsoft's Windows Server 2003, a solid server operating system that's now about eleven and a half years old, is heading for complete extinction in just under 300 days. Microsoft has a fashionable countdown timer already ticking.
Seeing as we just finished our second server migration in a single week (a personal record so far), sharing some of the finer aspects of how we are streamlining these transitions seems like a timely fit. This braindump of sorts is a collection of best practices that we are routinely following for our own customers, and they seem to be serving us well so far.
People are slowly but surely coming round to the idea of SaaS (Software as a Service), and this is particularly true for businesses. Microsoft is making something of a success of pushing monthly or annual subscriptions for Office 365, but there's still a massive untapped market -- small businesses who are simply not in a position to make additional financial commitments each month. GoDaddy is helping to wipe out this obstacle by offering a package aimed at getting small businesses up and running online for just $1 per month; and the package includes Office 365.
As this is GoDaddy, it should come as no surprise that there is a web-focus to the package. For $1 a month, businesses can bag themselves a custom domain and take advantage of the Website Builder tool as well as site hosting. On top of this, there's round the clock support and $50 worth of Bing credit to help with online promotion. This is already a great value deal, but throwing Office 365 into the mix is going to be too much for many businesses to resist.
Office 365 users are encouraged into storing their files in one of two locations -- locally or on OneDrive. Microsoft's own cloud storage service is neatly integrated into its office suite, just as it is into Windows 8.1. There are ways to integrate other services such as Google Drive, but today Box launched a beta version of Box for Office 365 in a bid to bring the cloud service to Office. The new beta was announced at Box's BoxWorks event. There are also plans to add Box integration to Office for iPad, although no timescale has been suggested for this.
The idea behind integrating Box into Office 365 is simple, but the beta page explains: "With our new Box for Office desktop app integrations, you can easily open, edit, share and save any file from Box seamlessly within Word, PowerPoint and Excel".
Seemingly refreshed after a day off yesterday, Microsoft now hits us with two snippets of Office-related news. iPad users will now be able to sign up to a monthly Office 365 Personal and Office 365 Home subscription from their tablet. Nothing has changed about the subscription model itself, but now if you try to do something in the free version of the Office apps that require a subscription, you can upgrade there and then without having to scuttle off to your computer. You may be reading a Word file free of charge, but if you decide you want to edit it, you can upgrade with a few taps.
As before, Office 365 Personal will set you back $6.99 per month. It can be installed on one PC or Mac as well as one tablet, and bumps OneDrive storage from 15GB to 1TB. For $9.99 per month, Office 365 Home can be installed on up to five computers and five tablets. Microsoft will be hoping that the added convenience will encourage more people into making the jump into a subscription.
Microsoft has released its earnings results for the fourth fiscal quarter of the year (that is Q2 CY2014), posting revenue of $23.38 billion, gross margin of 15.79 billion and operating income of $6.48 billion. As a result, earnings per share (EPS) came in at $0.55 (below analyst expectations of $0.60).
Revenue, gross margin and operating income are higher than a year before, when they reached 19.89 billion, 14.29 billion and 6.07 billion, respectively. However, EPS is lower, dropping from $0.59. "We are galvanized around our core as a productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world, and we are driving growth with disciplined decisions, bold innovation, and focused execution", says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "I'm proud that our aggressive move to the cloud is paying off -- our commercial cloud revenue doubled again this year to a $4.4 billion annual run rate".
In the second of our (hopefully) regular competitions, we have quite a treat for you. You've read the headline so you should know what's up for grabs, but if you missed it, the prize is a year's subscription to Office 365 Home worth $99.99.
Microsoft has very kindly donated a full subscription for us to give away, but this is more than just one copy of the world-famous office suite -- you can install Office 365 Home on up to five PCs or Macs, as well as five tablets. Enough for all the family!
Eric Ligman, Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager, has released a whole new batch of free ebooks, covering topics such as Windows 8 and 8.1, Windows 7, Office 2013 and Office 365, Azure, Lync 2013, and SQL Server. There are ebooks and resource guides for all things Microsoft.
For the past few years, Ligman has been writing posts in which he has given away almost 150 free Microsoft ebooks, and now he has another 130 more titles available to download for free, in addition to all the ones previously offered. Yes, that's right -- there are now close to 300 titles available.
Fifth in a series. Two years ago today, I stepped away from Apple, following a boycott later abandoned. My problems were philosophical, regarding the company's aggressive patent litigation that thwarts innovation. This July Fourth I seek freedom from Google, and not for the first time. I don't oppose the search and information giant, nor like fanboy rally for it. I declare independence as a practical exercise; an experiment. Can you -- OK, I -- do without Big G's expansive portfolio of products and services? I want to know.
In many regards, Google is the Internet gatekeeper U.S. trustbusters asserted Microsoft would be, in their late-1990s court case. Big G is unquestionably a monopoly that integrates features and products for competitive gain. In the United States, Google's search share is about 67 percent (3.5 times greater than second-ranked Microsoft), according to ComScore, and as much as 90 percent in some countries. Android's worldwide smartphone share is about 80 percent, according to IDC.
Microsoft's August price list has revealed increases of up to 15 percent for Office 365 enterprise customers.
Those without a software assurance plan will be hit with the largest hikes, whereas those who do will have their prices frozen until the end of their contract.
With the introduction of Office 2013, Microsoft brought software as a service to the table -- something some analysts had long expected would happen. Under the moniker of Office 365, the company introduced a subscription model that allows for a monthly or annual fee and grants five licences to each person or family.
Today the software and services company rolls out an improvement to this offering, adding what it calls better document collaboration. The feature was actually announced earlier this year at the Exchange Developer Conference, but only now do we see the final product. Microsoft hopes this will eliminate the need to share documents via emails in an effort to work with other people on the files.
At I/O 2014 Google announced that more cloud storage will be made available to space hungry users. Google Drive for Work has a price tag of $10 per month and includes not just more cloud storage, but unlimited cloud storage. Well, there is one limitation; individual files cannot exceed 5TB, but this is, for all intents and purposes, a deal that is unlimited by most people's understanding of the word. As the name suggests, this is a product that is aimed at businesses, but at this price it is hard to imagine that there won’t be swathes of home users looking to take advantage of the package.
A few months back, Google slashed the cost of its cloud storage packages, but today's news is something quite different. Worries about security may be allayed by the news that Drive, Gmail and Calendar data will be encrypted at data centers. IT admins will also be able to audit and control options, that means internal security policies can be implemented as required.
Just three months ago we saw the start of the cloud storage price wars when Google slashed its prices. Today Microsoft has retaliated by offering a massive increase in the amount of free cloud storage available to OneDrive and Office 365 customers. The company's recently renamed storage service jumps from 7GB of free space to 15GB -- although those with reasonable memories will recall that it is not all that since SkyDrive customers were given 25GB free of charge. But it doesn’t end there. Every version of Office 365 will now come with 1TB of free space as standard.
The figure for OneDrive has not just been plucked out of the air. "Our data tells us that 3 out of 4 people have less than 15 GB of files stored on their PC. Factoring in what they may also have stored on other devices, we believe providing 15 GB for free right out of the gate – with no hoops to jump through – will make it much easier for people to have their documents, videos, and photos available in one place."
Microsoft's timing on a blog post released today, provocatively titled "Outlook Web App provides more efficient calendar delegation and management than Gmail," is rather ironic. That's because I was gathering some thoughts on the areas in which this tool still needs improvement and is lacking. So while Microsoft is busy tooting it's own horn, I'm going to turn up the heat a bit for a reality check on the part of 365 I spend the most time in daily, which is OWA.
Don't get me wrong -- I absolutely love OWA in Office 365 and have been using it primetime since my IT company ditched Google Apps late last year. But it's not without its rough edges.
Growing up, I watched a lot of television -- hey, thats what we American kids did in the 80s. One of my favorite things to watch was old episodes of the Andy Griffith Show. You see, it was fun to see how people lived in simpler times. Plus, it was interesting to see a sheriff and deputy keep the peace without hardly ever needing a gun.
Unfortunately for Andy and Barney, there were no computers back then in Mayberry. While the internet would have disrupted the simpler lifestyle, it also would have helped them solve crimes. Heck, they could have implanted GPS in Otis the Drunk to keep track of him. Today, technology is abundant and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has adopted Microsoft's Office 365 to assist them in official business. Yes, Office 365 has been deputized!