After much anticipation and excitement Office 365 was launched just over a year ago. Office 365 was Microsoft’s first major push (in addition to office web apps) at delivering the cloud to the household consumer market, but mainly focused on businesses. Office 365 is Microsofts solution to an entirely online office suite that houses all of your documents in the cloud, and lets you manage microsoft exchange. The launch had many people excited, but office 365 also had its fair share of skeptics. Many people believed that Microsoft was too late at entering the playing field, as there were already more viable, and in some cases superior services already available. Their main competition was Google Apps, and the service had been developing since 2006. Furthermore, Google’s service can be used for free up to 5 GB of storage- Google then allows users to purchase more storage if necessary. Office 365 on the other hand charges users a monthly rate, with the cheapest solution at $4/ month, but only gives users access to email (Exchange Online).
One year later, it is still unclear wether or not Office 365 is a success. Microsoft has been pushing the service exhaustively in the past year, and now at the World Partners Conference in Toronto, they have announced that they will allow their partners to own the billing relationship for their online office suite. This is a major move as they are hoping partners will further push potential customers to adopt Microsofts cloud offering, and hopefully the service will take off. This announcement in particular was met with the loudest applause at the conference showing that partners are excited about the offer. Synergy IT is also a part of the Conference being held currently in Toronto City.
Office 365 has a lot to compete with as Google has also upgraded their service in the last couple months with the addition of Google Drive. Microsoft’s main advantage over existing services is that Office 365 is a much more powerful suite and will allow its users to do more than whats possible with Google’s offerings. This is where its clear that Office 365 isn’t really meant for the average user, but is oriented towards businesses and users who need the advanced toolset.
To determine Office 365’s success we have to take a wait-and-see approach, the service is still relatively young and we’re sure that Microsoft has big things planned. Now that partners will be allowed to own the billing relationships for the service its clear that we will see a growth in the number of users currently subscribed to Office 365.