You’ve heard the saying…If you can’t beat them…Join them.” Well Microsoft may be doing just that with some of its products. New Microsoft products for 2012 are almost ready for release.
Microsoft Versions to Rival Companies
Consider what Microsoft did this past week. Microsoft rolled out three Microsoft products to be available to rival companies.
- There was an updated version of OneNote for the iPhone;
- a new release of OneNote for the iPad;
- a SkyDrive cloud-storage app for iPhone;
- a Lync client for Android; (Lync for iPhone is still awaiting Apple’s approval)
- Hotmail for Android.
But Microsoft’s not done yet. Next year Microsoft plans for additional productivity wares to become available to various mobile platforms, including Android. That’s a big move because Google Android has a larger market share than Windows Phone 7 and iPhone. So why is Microsoft making that move for product placement in Android? Could it be because Microsoft considers Android tablets more of a threat because of the success of Google Docs?
Microsoft’s position is that Android is more of a consumer device play. But iOS and iPad matter more in the enterprise. Microsoft is pushing the products where they matter most.
Office 365 and Small and Enterprise Business
Earlier this year Microsoft introduced Office 365, an Office suite product available by subscription. Microsoft announced that for customers who want to buy the Office Professional Plus version of Office — which runs locally on PCs, not in the cloud — Microsoft will offer it to them on a subscription basis. That means users pay a monthly fee for Office, instead of paying for it all at once, up front. Its hosted applications that include SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online that competes head-to-head with Google Apps.
The question is, how successful has it been in deployment? There are two ways to look at it. One way is for small business deployment, and another for large enterprises. Back in November, Microsoft claimed 5 million paid seats of Office 365. However, that success hasn’t transferred to the large enterprise. Readers may recall that before Office 365 rolled out, Microsoft had another cloud product, Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS.) So part of the problem with moving the BPOS to Office 365 is the time frame and existing contract that enterprise customers are working through. That move takes time.
Another product is Office 365 appliance. Some suggestions push the idea that Microsoft offer Office 365 in a box, just like the plan to offer Azure in a box — i.e., as a private-cloud appliance running outside of Microsoft’s datacenters.
But customers who want to run Office 365 this way can do it themselves. However, they would not be able to use Microsoft business support features like the Online Service Delivery Platform around commerce, billing. “Customers can do this today without us packaging it up and selling it this way,” he said. Or they can rely on a partner/hosting provider to do it for them.
Other products – Updates
Microsoft plans to continue the quarterly update pace, with some on-premises features. There is some speculation that some of the improvements added to Exchange Server 2010 SP2 will make their way into the cloud.
Windows Azure is an open cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. Microsoft is adding additional data centers in the US. Currently there are three but three more are under development. Pushing cloud services will be a bigger part of the Microsoft Business strategy since it will allow users to access their data from any location in the world. For global business enterprises, this will be a way to easily coordinate their operations.