Update on Office 365 services

At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference last week, there was considerable talk about Office 365, the Cloud service for Microsoft Office. Microsoft will include two new add-ons, Project and Visio. The question is how soon will that happen?

The goal is to allow small and medium size businesses to access these tools along with their other tools CRM online and Windows Intune that are included.

Office 15 (Office 2013)

Talk also included that the release of Project and Visio would coincide with the release of Office 15(or Office 2013) , the next iteration of Microsoft Office. That release is expected in sometime late in 2012 or early 2013.

There will be changes to Office such as dynamic interfaces, and small updates to align more with the Metro style, and that it is being built on .NET Framework 4. There are expected the updates to Outlook and notes that there are new transitions in PowerPoint as well. There will be a redesigning the new visual & interaction experience for Office 15. Other things include Office Mobile 15, which will obviously be geared towards Windows Phone 7 devices

Office 365 and Project Server

While there is some contention about whether there will be a release this year or next of Project and Visio in Office 365, some offerings already exist. Some Microsoft Partners have the offerings available on their hosting services. These partners include Project Hosts, EPM Solutions, VirtualePM, and BeMo.

Visio and Sharepoint Services

Visio, on the other hand, is part of the Sharepoint Server 2010. That has a hosting partner as well, fpweb. Microsoft has offered these partners the opportunity to present Cloud based solutions for Visio and Project, ahead of Microsoft’s own deployment. By doing so it is engaging their customers and partners to work with Cloud services, even if Office 365 won’t release these programs for some time. This also offers partners the opportunity to select applications that they can help their customers with.

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