Feeds

Microsoft's anti–Google Docs weapon locked and loaded

Launch date named, reliability claimed

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The rebranded edition of Microsoft's answer to Google Docs is officially launching on June 28, a top company executive has revealed.

Jon Roskill, corporate vice president for the worldwide partner group, has Tweeted that the beta label comes off the productivity and collaboration cloud on June 28, when it will become generally available.

As recently as May 26, Microsoft had said that Office 365 would be coming in June, but had not offered a specific date. Chief executive Steve Ballmer made the month of its release public at an event in India.

Roskill claimed 100,000 "real" customers are using Office 365 in its beta period, which began in October 2010.

Office 365 is the new brand for a previously disparate collection of productivity and collaboration services. The bundle folds in the Business Productivity Office Suite (BPOS), Live@Edu offering, and Office Live Small Business service, each for different users.

Existing BPOS customers have 12 months from June 28 to transition to Office 365, while those on Office Live Small Business who transition will get three months of Office 365 for small businesses for free.

Office 365 runs on a hosted version of Microsoft's SharePoint and Exchange servers for email and collaboration, provides each user with a 25GB mailbox, and connects to Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2007. SharePoint provides the back-end storage for sharing and storing of regular Office documents and their web-based extension Office Web Apps.

The online bundle comes with Forefront security and a supposed guarantee of 99.9 per cent uptime, which will be refreshing for all those recent BPOS converts who've lost email access since joining Microsoft's hosted service. The outrages left many users feeling humiliated and looking for ways off Microsoft's email cloud.

Worryingly, Microsoft has blamed those outrages on problems with the BPOS Exchange Servers – Exchange being the email system underpinning Office 365.

Getting it right is vital, as Office 365 is supposed to supplant Google Docs. Email and collaboration are the majority of the wins Microsoft has been claiming as "cloud", while Microsoft and Google are fighting a city-by-city, government-by-government, and company-by-company battle to win and then name customers using their services.

San Francisco, California, last month became Microsoft's newest scalp, as the city government signed a contract to put 23,000 email users on BPOS and Microsoft Exchange Online instead of Google – or even IBM's Lotus Notes.

Governments are especially ripe targets at a time when the US public sector is suffering massive budget shortfalls while stuck with creaking email systems. Microsoft and Google offer the prospect of new email systems at lower upfront costs, without customers needing to run their own servers. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Bitcasa bins $10-a-month Infinite storage offer
Firm cites 'low demand' plus 'abusers'
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Pssst. Want to buy a timeshare in the clouds?
The Google dilemma — controller or spreader of knowledge?
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.