back to article Microsoft unwraps sysadmin-friendly Office 365 for biz update

One month after lifting the curtain on the updated version of its Office 365 subscription service for home users, Microsoft has officially launched the equivalent service for business customers with three new offers for small and midsized companies. Microsoft debuted Office 365 in 2011 as a set of subscription-based, hosted …

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  1. Kay Burley ate my hamster
    Stop

    TL:DR

    Yawn... Can't we just have the facts in a nice little table?

    1. hplasm
      Meh

      Re: TL:DR

      It's Microsoft.

      It's expensive.

      It's value is debatable.

      it smells fishy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: TL:DR

        It's Microsoft,

        You get what you pay for.

        It's a proper version of Office that works and includes a unified comms option.

        Google Office is a joke in comparison. Hence why this is selling.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: TL:DR @AC 15:45

          MS office isn't available for Linux

          Thank God.

        2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: TL:DR

            What features did Google introduce that Microsoft didn't already have in Office then? As far as I can see, it is Google that copied Microsoft.

            Or are you referring to the fact that Google were first with a cloud version? Hardly innovative - it's still straight rip-off of Office.

            1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: TL:DR

                Except with MSFT's cloudy office, you also need all the stuff installed locally. The licencing makes you call them if you move it to a new computer. It installs 100s of sharepoint office connect and sync clients which all mysteriously stop working every 5mins and require reinstalling in a particular order. The online stuff only works properly in although IE doesn't really trust MSFT and constantly pops up messages asking you if you want to enable some randomly named add-in

                Other than that - it's exactly like any other cloud solution

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: TL:DR

                  You don't need anything whatsoever installed locally for Office 365. It works with just a browser. I have been using it for over a year from anywhere I have internet access. Its great, fast and simple, and works fine at least in Safari, IE and Chrome.

              2. TheVogon
                Mushroom

                Re: TL:DR

                And One Note? Publisher? Outlook? Powerpoint? InfoPath? Lync?

                Microsoft might not have been first with a word processor, a spreadsheet or a database, but their products even from the early days are a vast improvement and innovation on what went before. Whereas Google Docs is just a straight rip-off with more limited functionality.

              3. Scott Wheeler

                Re: TL:DR

                MS Word is not a copy of Word Perfect; Word Perfect is not a copy of Wordstar. Unless you consider the concept of a non-modal screen editor to be innovative

                MS Excel is not a copy of Lotus123; Visicalc had some dependence on Visicalc, but was very different.

                MS Access is not a copy of dBase. Did you ever use dBase?

  2. JDX Gold badge
    Facepalm

    Pro Plus?!

    OMG

    1. hplasm
      Devil

      Re: Pro Plus?!

      A bit of an eye-opener...

  3. Moeluk

    Oh Joy.....

    Still it's not appeared in my 365 sys admin web interface yet, it's still pissing out 2010 pro plus.

    Btw yes, total rip off, i wish we'd just bought office 2010 outright...it would be so much cheaper...

    1. Skoorb
      Unhappy

      Yup

      The pricing does seem a little on the steep side for businesses. Especially as there are plenty that don't want (or can't have for regulatory and legal reasons - the entire NHS anyone?) cloud storage of all their emails and documents.

      Anybody know what your friendly local distributor can offer you on pricing? Surely it can't just be list price direct from Microsoft or nothing?

  4. PipV
    FAIL

    Two words....

    NO SALE!

  5. Irongut Silver badge
    FAIL

    "versions of the service for business customers also bundle a complete version of the Office desktop application suite for the first time"

    I must have imagined them offering this when we signed up for Office365 last year then. We chose not to take them but they were definitely offered.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Its a 'menu' option if you want to be able to Install the full version or not. An Office 365 install is intelligent and allows up to 5 client installs - and you can move your 5 installs to different devices as required. It's also incredibly fast to install even on a limited internet link. Microsoft's streaming application install technology is amazing. You can be starting to use Office in under a minute and it continues to install in the background!

  6. Silverburn
    Facepalm

    FFS

    When will MS get it?

    Where the apps are hosted and run from are only a minor consideration, compared to...WHERE THE DATA ITSELF GETS ROUTED!!!

    No much of an issue when writing a thank you letter to Aunty Mildred, but if you need to type up a letter to the CEO about the fatal flow in multi-billion dollar product X we sell to the Air Force? Yessiree...lets do that in a office app that routes through the cloud...what could possibly go wrong!

    1. TheVogon
      Mushroom

      Re: FFS

      But the USA can read your data pretty much anywhere thanks to Eschelon, so it really doesnt make that much difference.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FFS

        It's called Echelon, and it's mainly involved in wireless intercept.

        1. TheVogon
          Mushroom

          Re: FFS

          Yes typo - and no it's mainly involved in ground based intercepts of vast quantities of Internet traffic, although it certainly also intercepts satellite telecoms traffic too....

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. TheVogon
          Mushroom

          Re: FFS

          I wouldn't mind working for Microsoft, but I don't think they would stretch to my salary expectations ;-).

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FFS

      "When will MS get it?

      Where the apps are hosted and run from are only a minor consideration, compared to...WHERE THE DATA ITSELF GETS ROUTED!!!"

      I think you've misunderstood what they're trying to sell you here ... you don't NEED to store your data in their cloud service. No'one's making you.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: FFS

          >>Why use Office 365 - which is a cloud service then?

          So you can switch devices, hot-seat on any PC, etc? Store files in your own private cloud/whatever.

          Regardless you miss the point - only a large business can have their own data centre. Small biz typically have a server in a basement somewhere and someone takes a USB disk home at the weekend :)

          For them, cloud-based is way MORE secure than they can afford - typically they might not even have a full-time IT guy, just someone helping out.

        2. Yet Another Commentard

          Re: FFS

          "2) You TRUST MS software NOT to send your data to their mothership?"

          Something they copied from Google Docs there?

          I must confess, I never even read the article, I came here just to see how long after it was posted there would be a comment ending in a POINTLESS SHOUTY FAIL.

  7. John Hawkins

    Bit like the licensing per head of yore...

    I remember the stink that got kicked up when they went from licensing per user to licensing per device, once PCs got cheap and people started having one or more each rather than sharing.

    One of my larger customers doesn't like the idea at least; because of shift work they have a more than a few thousand devices that are shared and will require multiple licences per device instead of just the one. Will be interesting to see how they react.

  8. Graham Dresch
    FAIL

    The Preferred Business Model

    One purchase, one license per user

    No restriction on transferring licenses between users and machines

    Users have total control over where documents are stored, no cloud required

    NO SUBSCRIPTION

    Are these concepts too difficult for MS to understand ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Preferred Business Model

      They're not difficult to understand. They don't want to license it that way. Is that difficult for you to understand? Too bad.

      1. hplasm
        Windows

        Re: The Preferred Business Model

        Nobody wants it on those terms. Difficult for MS to stick it?

        Too bad.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: The Preferred Business Model

      >>Users have total control over where documents are stored, no cloud required

      You already do.

      >>No restriction on transferring licenses between users and machines

      I guess the problem here is that it's much harder to enforce, and we all know how a single copy of Windows will get reinstalled everywhere given half the chance.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        NO SUBSCRIPTION

        The other thing is, if you look around you'll find the subscription model is the one which is taking over - hosting, source control, storage, bug-tracking, music, netflix, yada yada. I agree that the idea of the office suite being an installed app is deeply ingrained so it feels weird but maybe that's where everything is going. Or maybe it's just this decade's trend and it will revert when we get bored of it.

  9. Radium
    Meh

    Existing Biz Subscribers Somewhat Stiffed

    It might be worth pointing out that existing Office 356 subscribers won't be upgraged immediately to Office 2013. We'll get upgraded "throughout" 2013 at a timescale determined by Microsoft.

    I signed up for Office 365 a couple of months ago. I expect to see my system upgrade happen sometime before Christmas.

  10. Levente Szileszky
    Thumb Down

    <yawn> Another copycat in a classic Ballmerian manner...

    ...showing all the signs: arrogance, stupidity, running on their unreliable cloud platform yet waaay overpriced.

    Wake me up when they have something to compete with Google Apps, with an entry-level free tier etc, thanks.

    1. Neil B
      Stop

      Re: <yawn> Another copycat in a classic Ballmerian manner...

      There is an entry level free tier: office web apps.

      Here, I'll even provide a link:

      http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/web-apps/

      Don't let the facts hit your ass on the way out.

      1. Levente Szileszky
        FAIL

        Re: <yawn> Another copycat in a classic Ballmerian manner...

        It won't because it's NOT FREE FOR WORK UNLESS YOU HAVE OFFICE ALREADY. Yeah, that's a FACT.

        Here, I'll even show you what to read before your make another embarrassing post: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/office/ee815687.aspx

        "Get Office Web Apps

        Business customers licensed for Microsoft Office 2010 through a Volume Licensing program can run Office Web Apps on-premises on a server running Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 or Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010."

        Don't let your reading comprehension problem hit you again in the face publicly next time...

        1. TheVogon
          Mushroom

          Re: <yawn> Another copycat in a classic Ballmerian manner...

          You moron, that's the Office WebApps installable for SharePoint Server for running ON-PREMISES as it very clearly says.

          Not the TOTALLY FREE Office WebApps that Microsoft host online and can be used by anyone without any version of Office installed. URL as above...

          1. Levente Szileszky

            Re: <yawn> Another copycat in a classic Ballmerian manner...

            I understand that you are unable to follow even a fairly simple conversation but then please, at least remain silent.... the original article as well as my first post was - and this entire discourse still is - CLEARLY about Google Apps at WORK. Y'know, the place where people go to do something that in turn generates something for someone/s (money/heat/porn/whatever) - are you following me?

            If so then check the "URL as above" - there's this WORK button... quick, click it!

            There you go: http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/business/compare-office-for-business-plans-FX102918419.aspx

            Yes, you are indeed hopelessly clueless yet loudmouthed, that is the said truth.

  11. Flawless101
    Meh

    Subscription...

    I often wonder who sits down with their beverage of choice and thinks, "yes, that's what we need... subscriptions to use A WORD PROCESSOR."

    1. Rukario

      Re: Subscription...

      That would be Steve Ballmer.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Subscription...

        Or subscriptions to listen to music. Oh wait.

        Or here's a really crazy one... a subscription to read books and you have to keep taking them back. Hmm.

  12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds like a product for Haemmorrhoids - Orifice Pro Plus

      Do you ever think people wouldn't write your opinions and posts off if you didn't finish off with <whatever> fail?

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Silverburn

          Re: Sounds like a product for Haemmorrhoids - Orifice Pro Plus

          Oh god...I just laughed at an Eadon comeback. I feel unclean.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sounds like a product for Haemmorrhoids - Orifice Pro Plus

            Why? It wasn't funny.

            1. ChrisM

              Re: Sounds like a product for Haemmorrhoids - Orifice Pro Plus

              Why is it that Eadon reminds me of that blight on the landscape of Northwrn Ireland 'De' Ian Paisley...

              It must be the swivel-eyed lunacy and inability to see someone elses point of view that clinches it...

              1. TheVogon
                Mushroom

                Re: Sounds like a product for Haemmorrhoids - Orifice Pro Plus

                I was thinking more of 'Eden', as in has not yet eaten from the tree of knowledge.....

                1. Don Jefe
                  Happy

                  Re: Sounds like a product for Haemmorrhoids - Orifice Pro Plus

                  I call him Radon because he sneaks into every corner or the place and in small doses is fairly harmless but with continued long term exposure causes no end of ill effects.

  13. Arachnoid

    The bottom line is its all about generating the greatest amount of revenue from the same amount of licenses,monthly subscriptions does this to a tee and it brings in regular guaranteed income.The fact its not what the customer wants.......well that a customer misinterpretation of the basic advantages of globally connected,cloud based and team accessible services using integrated products isnt it Humphrey?

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re:

      You are kind of correct. Accounts call this arrangement an 'evergreen' subscription and shareholders prefer this as opposed to short term 'big game' sales because it provides a better foundation for long term financial forecasting and operating capital.

  14. Neil B
    Facepalm

    "Pro Plus"

    Facepalm because obviously.

    1. hplasm
      Happy

      "Facepalm because obviously..."

      ...Ex-Lax was taken.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IMHO it will lead to an increase in cracked versions and torrents...

    This is actually quite punishing to non-corporate home users and small businesses. No really new features in over a decade..... No real alternatives for addicts or those bred on Office, although LO is progressing.

    IMHO it will lead to an increase in cracked versions and torrents. If the Chinese can and have been doing so for years there's nothing to stop the west following... Here in S America I'm shocked at how many cracked copies of Win7 & Office and routinely included on new computers at legit sellers.

    Either that or VM's with ready-to-go Office installs easily being exchanged... I can only see this type of black market increasing in the EU & USA as people tighten their wallets in coming years.... especially in countries with austerity!

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: IMHO it will lead to an increase in cracked versions and torrents...

        I'd rather have a ribbon than use a full application through my web browser.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: IMHO it will lead to an increase in cracked versions and torrents...

        pfffth

        Ok, I upvoted Eadon for the general idea (MS fear customers choosing to leave Office more than they fear pirates). I feel a bit dirty but its probably true.

        The other stuff is debatable. I don't think the UI is an issue, or even licensing admin or bloat (memory is cheap), closed formats are almost moot when everyone uses the same., cross-platform is moot when everyone uses windows.

        I would say that Word 2013 does seem to be really buggy, but I have a local installation so that might all be part of the plan... ;)

      3. Bill the Sys Admin
        FAIL

        Re: IMHO it will lead to an increase in cracked versions and torrents...

        No Ribbons - Some people like the ribbon. Dont like change then your in the wrong field

        Metro-isation - Are we all to jump to a chromebooks or better yet Unity interface, Metro's long lost brother!? There are many interfaces none are perfect....except KDE :)

        Offices Virus's - The program is used all over the world its no wonder there are viruses! The same will happen to any other program that has that many users

        no closed formats - Your only useful point as of yet

        cross platform - Last time I checked Office ran on quite a few different platforms

        and no f*cking up bullets, indentations and other formatting artefacts - This is all just nonsense.

        By the way im all for everybody using Libre Office, but if your going to present an argument at least make it a good one. In true Eadon style I shall finish with this

        EADON FAIL

    2. TheVogon

      Re: IMHO it will lead to an increase in cracked versions and torrents...

      Microsoft have pretty much nailed that with Windows 8 though. Its still not fully cracked.

      The OEM activations that were used on Win7 are not possible on Win8. Every OEM PC now has a specific hash and key!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IMHO it will lead to an increase in cracked versions and torrents...

        @TheVogon

        Interesting. Anyone have experience of VM's in Win8 yet?

        Presumably you can still run a cracked MS-Office in a cracked XP / Win7 OS in a VM under Win8?

        ...More reasons to hope Win8 sales are so low that Win7 is kept alive as XP was....

        1. TheVogon
          Mushroom

          Re: IMHO it will lead to an increase in cracked versions and torrents...

          Yes you could do that in a VM. However I would fail then to see to point of bothering with Windows 8 at all...

          It might be like most DRM that Windows 8 will eventually be cracked and that there will be a cat and mouse game as Microsoft patch any exploits, or block you from updates / the Windows store, etc. There are some current crack attempts, but they still don't properly activate the product or let you use the Windows store.

          With secure boot, and signed everything, Microsoft are making it very hard to the point where people will buy it rather than take the effort to crack it imo.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: IMHO it will lead to an increase in cracked versions and torrents...

            @TheVogon

            "I would fail then to see to point of bothering with Windows 8 at all..."

            Agree. But I was thinking about friends, family other relations that buy a PC and have Win8 foisted upon them... Then call me up to fix the problem....

  16. Andrew Davenport
    FAIL

    Microsoft Dont Want Small Business Customers - FACT!

    Ok, we deal with many small businesses, most of whom LOVE their little handy and neat (ok not without the odd quirk) SBS 2003 servers.

    Now and again they will buy a new PC and a new copy of office, problem! Office Home and Business will install but Outlook 2013 wont work with Exchange 2003. No downgrade rights for Office 2010 so the customer is cornered into upgrading their server, oh look, Exchange is missing from SBS or rather the equivalent small business versions of Server 2012 so they have to buy ADDITIONAL licenses and hardware to run an on premise Exchange solution, none of which they want, nor have the budget to do!

    Oh wait, there is of course an answer, buy a VLA minimum 5 credits of 5 copies of Office Standard which is a good £100 more than the Home and Small Business, cornered again.

    Most of my customers are NOT happy and feel trapped, they dont want cloud as in the legal industry they have to prove security and in the cloud you dont really know where your data is and you cannot vet the security to fill out the endless compliance forms can you?!

    So, its my conclusion that Microsoft no longer want these people as customers, maybe they are too small, not worth the effort.

    I can see piracy on the up for copies of Office 2010 across the board and Small Businesses looking for other options.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Microsoft Dont Want Small Business Customers - FACT!

      Now I learn more about 365 Pro I can see why SBS2011 is the end of the SBS everything-on-the-one box.

      Small business buys a server for administration and a mixture of local and cloud storage of files and gets office 365 for the Exchange functionality and local office install. Another advantage for MS would be an end to the trickery that was required to get the server roles that expected to run on different servers to coexist on one.

      As you pointed out, this is not good for the legal industry, but probably ok for small wholesale distibution, car sales, light industry. But then the legal industry ought to be able to afford the higher costs of a on-site Exchange server and storage.

    2. TheVogon
      Mushroom

      Re: Microsoft Dont Want Small Business Customers - FACT!

      All that Microsoft have done with SBS server is make Exchange an optional extra so that you don't have to pay for the Exchange license that you don't need if you use Office 365.....

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: Microsoft Dont Want Small Business Customers - FACT!

        Had a look at Technet last night. There are scenarios and methodologies described for moving from SBS to 2012 Essentials and exchange in the cloud but none for moving to Server 2012 and Exchange on site. It's like they don't want to consider the idea let alone support it.

  17. Steve Foster
    Devil

    "cloud storage based on Microsoft's commercial-grade hosted infrastructure"

    Ah, yes, that'd be Azure-based, right? Oops!!!

  18. ElNumbre
    WTF?

    Citrix

    I wonder how the licencing works with Citrix? Do the five 'device' licences count for each server you log into, or on a farm basis. And if its the former, can you scriptamagically bin the licences off when the session ends. Because I'm not sure the other way works either, especially if you have a dynamically spawning virtual farm based on load.

    MS licencing blows.

  19. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Happy

    Grammar

    If the PC is lost or stolen or you upgrade to newer hardware, you must purchase a new copy of Office 2013 if you want to keep using it, according to Microsoft's new terms.

    Oh, how very, very important that second comma is.

    1. TheVogon
      Mushroom

      Re: Grammar

      I wonder how that equates with the right in the EU to resell software licences, as per the recent Oracle decision in Germany?

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