Microsoft, yesterday announced an upgrade and rebranding of its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) of cloud services, bringing its hosted Exchange Online and SharePoint Online offerings together with the cloud version of the recently renamed Lync communications platform (previously known as Office Communications Server).
The package also includes support for Office Web Apps and licensing for the Office desktop suite. The beta programme includes small business and enterprise editions. Office 365 replaces the existing BPOS tools, Office Live Small Business and Live Education platforms.
The new Exchange Online is based on Exchange 2010, and like its on-premises sibling gives you access to new scheduling features, along with MailTips for handling out-of-office messages and other common tasks.
Users will get 25GB of storage with each Exchange Online account, and the service will also allow sending attachments as large as 25MB. It’s also set up with antispam and antivirus tools, helping protect your network.
Like SharePoint 2010, SharePoint Online supports social features, and can also be used to manage a secure extranet for working with partners. As it’s the latest version of SharePoint, it’s also a host for Office Web Apps, giving Office 365 both an online editor for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, and support for collaboration using the desktop versions of the tools.
Microsoft Office 365 is going to be provided on a per-user license – it will also enable businesses to host websites on the SharePoint online services. You’ll be able to sign up directly on the site, or you’ll be able to purchase a subscription (along with support services) from a Microsoft partner.
Pricing for the UK has yet to be announced, but the US service will have plans ranging from $2 to $27 per user per month, with the more expensive plans including access to the desktop Office suite, and the basic plans just offering web access to email.
Microsoft is also offering a range of plans for what it’s calling ‘kiosk’ workers — that is, workers without a dedicated computer. Kiosk workers will work with Office 365 using their browser, with Outlook Web Apps for email and the Office Web Apps for working with documents.
Small businesses get free access to the cloud service for 30 days, with a $6 per user per month charge after that.
So overall it seems a step in the right direction for Microsoft being able to leasea functional cloud based system to commercial and public sector. Microsoft are only currently offering Windows Live which is limited in ways – but I must say I really do like 365 and looking forward to its introduction. What I would love to know is will 365 intergrate with Windows Mobile 7? Stay tuned for an update on prices and a release date for the UK.
Although not entirely unexpected, Microsoft has confirmed in a press release today that all five major UK carriers will have Windows Phone 7 devices in their product line ups when the handsets start to hit the market in the coming weeks. This includes third party sellers, also, as both the Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U will be stocking the phones too.
“Microsoft has announced that all five of the mobile network operators in the UK – Orange, O2, Vodafone,T-Mobile and Three – will be ranging phones running Windows® Phone when it launches later this year. In addition, Windows Phone 7 will be ranged by the leading UK retailers The Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u.”
This means that if you’re in the UK and really looking forward to Microsoft’s new mobile operating system, then you won’t have to switch networks to get your fair share of the goodies.
Of course the press release doesn’t spill specific details about which devices will be on which network, but to know that you will have a choice across the board is pretty exciting news – customers can now go for a more compitent 3G network or a reliable 2G.
Are you waiting for Windows Phone 7 handsets to hit the shelves so that you can treat yourself to a new mobile phone which isn’t Google Android-based or an Apple iPhone?
Do you think that this move by Microsoft will help aid their catch-up in the mobile phone market? Or are they already too late? Will you ever want a Windows Phone 7 handset after Windows Mobile 6.5?
In terms of design, every conventional Windows Phone will have three buttons at the front of the phone situated at the bottom below the screen: this will include a Start, Search and Back button. Having the three buttons allows for user consistency between different smart phones e.g. the Nexus One.
Microsofts introduction of ‘integrated experience hubs’ is one of many features they have incorporated with their new market smashing smart phone. Starting with People – this allows you to sort the people you know from various sources e.g. Outlook, Facebook and more.
The section is split into various panes separating recent contacts from personal information and social networking updates through Twitter, Facebook and other social network sites.
Pictures – this shows galleries and synced items along with a social network pane that allows you to view recent pictures from your friends on Facebook – you can see that Microsoft have gone on the integration synergy with Facebook and Twitter an awful lot with this phone. Pictures allows you to upload and manage Facebook albums directly from your phone – pretty cool huh?
A bit more predicatble more than anything but Yes – Microsoft have called their business tool hub ‘Office’. Once opened from the main screen, users are prompted with an option of creating new pages, view most recent open documents, spreadsheets and more.
Users can find a full list of documents in the middle panel followed by a final panel which manages SharePoint – that’s if you are a SharePoint user.
Games and Music + Video hubs – these Hubs pretty much sell themselves hopefully. Microsoft have incorporated Xbox Live so you can manage trophies, user profiles and friends from your Windows Phone 7. Not only allowing users to manage their Xbox Live account, users can sync their Windows Phone 7 games with Xbox Live.
Music + Video is Zune HD and from reviews the Music + Video hub works pretty damn well.
Summing up Windows Mobile 7
Windows Phone 7 in comparison to its predecessor Windows Phone 6.5, it is a completely different experience from the interface through to the integration with Hubs and Social Networks. I have a feeling we haven’t seen everything from Windows Phone 7 as hopefully a new firmware update in the new year will give the handset that cutting edge it needs to compete against other smart phones enabling – copy and paste.
With HTC, Samsung and LG already pumping phones out with Windows Phone 7, Microsoft will simply start to pick up on the smart phone market and who knows – Microsoft could increase their market size.
-For more information go to the original article source here at Zath
Emails, diaries and intranets are easy with these services from SpiderGroup
What is Microsoft Exchange?
Microsoft Exchange is a program that handles email, diaries and addresses for businesses. Its benefits include:
|•||Mobility. Access email via PocketPCs, Smartphones and other mobile devices such as BlackBerry. Pick up your email from home, a client site or anywhere with an internet connection.|
|•||Security. Built-in spam protection and easy backup and archiving of business information.|
|•||Efficiency. The ability to share diaries, address details and other business information.|
I already have email, so why do I need this?
Many businesses rely on basic POP3 email accounts from their internet service provider or even web mail. These are not usually ideal for business use:
|•||No backup and limited spam and virus protection – you run the risk of losing email because it is not stored and backed up properly.|
|•||You can’t share your diary easily with colleagues|
|•||They’re often less secure and reliable than business-class email systems|
|•||Limited features, for example no support for collaboration|
|•||Less flexible access to your email via your mobile phone or PDA|
One user who have made the switch said:
“It amazes people who haven’t seen it before – it is way beyond what POP3 email could ever offer.”
What is ‘Hosting’ and Hosted Exchange?
Many companies run Exchange Server on dedicated server computers on their own premises. This can prove costly for small to medium sized businesses. However, thanks to new Microsoft technology, it is possible to outsource this to specialist hosting companies such as SpiderGroup, just like you might let someone host your website for you.
This can reduce the cost, risk, complexity and support burden associated with an in-house system. It is also quicker to set up than an in-house system and can reduce your up-front costs.
Why choose hosted Exchange?
There are several reasons why you might chose a hosted solution over an in-house email system:
|•||No upfront capital or licensing costs. Just a predictable per-user, monthly fee|
|•||Reduced maintenance and support. Your staff can concentrate on your business, not on routine admin and maintenance of your IT systems. Exchange will not run itself and requires careful looking after. Therefore it’s best to leave it to the experts.|
|•||Easy set up. With an online control panel and customer support team you’re move to Hosted Exchange is hassle free and painless.|
|•||The costs match your requirements. Adding staff? Add more users when you need them. Scaling back? Remove users and functionality as necessary and pay only for what you use.|
|•||Reliability. High service level agreements and inclusive IT support.|
What is hosted SharePoint Server and how can it help my business?
Just as you can outsource Microsoft Exchange Server, it is also possible to get Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services as a hosted service. This allows you and your colleagues to work more effectively by storing business information in a secure, private intranet website that is accessible anywhere.
SharePoint is useful for:
|•||Centralised document management|
|•||Customer relationship management|
|•||Sharing things like employee handbooks, policies, holiday diaries and phone directories|