Microsoft will revamp its Office 365 lineup for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), adding features, dropping prices and increasing the flexibility to mix and match them with Office 365 plans for enterprises and with stand-alone applications.
The changes are the result of feedback from partners and existing Office 365 customers, and are intended to make the Office 365 application suite more attractive to SMBs and easier to market for channel resellers, Microsoft said on Wednesday.
Enterprises looking to cut costs of storing data can soon investigate a new service from Microsoft designed to save money by backing up information in the cloud. The service is available for a new set of storage appliances that the company will start selling Aug. 1.
Microsoft will bundle Yammer with more editions of Office 365, adding the enterprise social-networking product to the suite's editions for schools and midsize businesses.
Existing subscribers of Office 365 Midsize Business and Office 365 Education plans will get licenses for Yammer's Enterprise edition at no additional cost, the company said Monday.
Microsoft's decision to boost free storage space to one terabyte for Office 365 subscribers is less a game changer for the rent-not-own concept than additional evidence that storage is transforming from a separate service to a feature, analysts argued today.
"Storage is a feature," said Wes Miller of Directions on Microsoft. "It's fast becoming a feature of the platform."
Under pressure from Microsoft's Office 365, Google has launched a premium edition of Apps with unlimited cloud storage and extra IT controls, and it has improved the Docs office productivity suite.
Although this new edition is essentially Apps for Business with an extra set of features, Google has branded it differently, shifting the spotlight from "apps" to storage by calling it Drive for Work.
Microsoft will dramatically increase capacity and lower prices for OneDrive, increasing pressure on other cloud storage providers and also sweetening the deal for prospective and current Office 365 customers.
The company will more than double to 15GB the storage capacity in the free, stand-alone OneDrive service for consumers. People get access to this free OneDrive storage also when they sign up for Office Online, the free, lightweight Web-based version of Office, and also when they sign up for Outlook.com, Microsoft's free webmail service.
Microsoft has overcome Cisco’s lead in enterprise collaboration sales in the first quarter of 2014, taking in a slightly higher percentage of sales for the first time, according to Synergy Research Group.
Sales of video conferencing and telepresence hardware systems are declining, hurt by an increase in cloud and software-based options that often are cheaper and simpler to deploy, according to an IDC study.
In 2014's first quarter, video conferencing equipment revenue shrank 16 percent worldwide year over year to $473.5 million, while units sold fell 6.2 percent.
Microsoft and Salesforce.com have become corporate buddies, pledging to integrate their flagship products in what they're calling a "global, strategic partnership." The agreement calls for Salesforce.com's CRM software to be integrated with Microsoft's Windows OS, Azure cloud computing platform, and Office suite, the companies said today.
About 8 million students and 400,000 teachers in Thailand will be given access to Office 365, the biggest deployment yet for Microsoft's cloud apps suite in the education sector.
The Thai education commission has signed a five-year agreement with Microsoft to provide Office 365 free to students and teachers in the agency's jurisdiction.
Wednesday's announcement doesn't say which edition of Office 365 will be used.
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