Like any good pusher, Microsoft knows that the best way to get kids hooked on your product is to start them off with free samples. Microsoft this week officially launched its Student Advantage program that will give students at more than 35,000 participating schools free access to Microsoft Office 365 as long as the schools license Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus for their faculty members. This is the second big Office 365 promotion Microsoft has announced for students this year, as over the summer the company said that it would give new Office 365 subscribers in select countries free 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions.
Microsoft Office Web Apps on SkyDrive and Office 365 are finally catching up with Google Drive. In a blog post on Wednesday, Microsoft’s Amanda Lefebvre announced that real-time co-author editing is now possible on Office Web Apps, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The number of potential collaborators that can be working on the same document in Word and Excel is limitless, but there is a 20 co-author limit for PowerPoint presentations. More →
Microsoft is currently on a streak of increasing cloud storage capacity for its customers. Earlier this week, Microsoft more than tripled the storage capacity for SkyDrive Pro users from 7 GB to 25 GB. The latest cloud mailboxes to receive a storage boost are for Exchange Online and Office 365, which will increase from 25 GB to 50 GB starting this Friday. Customers should see their storage capacity double sometime between now and November. According to the Office 356 blog, the following services plans will receive the upgrade: Exchange Online Plan 1, Office 365 Small Business, Midsize Business, Enterprise E1, Government G1, and Education A1. Shared mailboxes and Resources mailboxes will grow to 10 GB as well. A chart of the new plans follows below. More →
Microsoft has come up with a clever way to tie its popular Office productivity software in with its popular Xbox gaming console. In a new promotion announced this week, Microsoft will be giving new Office 365 subscribers in select countries free 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions that will give them access to all the features and apps Xbox Gold members now enjoy. Microsoft is pitching the deal to high school and college students as a good way to “make school enjoyable all year round.” The bad news, however, is that the company isn’t yet offering the promotion in the United States, so it seems that American students are out of luck for the time being.
So we all know by now that Windows 8 has proven to be a very polarizing operating system that Microsoft has vowed to overhaul in an effort to assuage disgruntled users. But Benzinga’s Tim Parker notes that Microsoft has had considerably more success lately with another cornerstone of its business that isn’t an operating system or a gaming console: The subscription-based Office 365 Home Premium cloud service suite. Microsoft announced this week that there are now more than 1 million Office 365 Home Premium subscribers, which Parker says is a reflection of the fact that Microsoft has done “a pretty good job of not trying to completely reinvent something that isn’t broken” but has instead given an old product a “21st century treatment” by putting it in the cloud.
Many subscribers will be in for a surprise when the latest issue of Forbes Magazine arrives on doorsteps and newsstands. Microsoft has embedded a Wi-Fi router in select copies of the May 6th print edition of the magazine, which gives users 15 days of free Wi-Fi through T-Mobile. The free Wi-Fi is part of Microsoft’s latest campaign to promote its subscription-based Office 365 service. The router lasts for three hours before it must be recharged using the included microUSB cable. Once activated, up to five devices at a time can be connected to the hotspot until the free service expires.
Moments ago, Microsoft officially released its new cloud-based Office product, Office 365, which will compete directly with Google Docs. The Office 365 suite, which has been in public beta for awhile now, is being targeted at the enterprise market and plans for the entire suite cost between $10 and $27 each month depending on the feature set chosen. Small and medium-sized businesses can also choose a more cost effective $6 option that only includes Office Web Apps and Microsoft Exchange. Those options, however, are all more expensive than the $50 annual fee that Google charges corporate users for access to its Google Docs suite. Microsoft’s full press release follows below. More →
What do you get when you combine Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online? According to Microsoft, you get the “next generation in cloud productivity.” The Redmond giant’s much awaited cloud-based Office suite launches today as a limited beta spanning 13 countries. Those lucky enough to sample the offering at this stage will enjoy much of the functionality that makes Microsoft Office the global standard with none of the local software keeping the rest of us tethered to our PCs. Kurt DelBene, president of the Office Division at Microsoft, had this to say:
Office 365 is the best of everything we know about productivity, all in a single cloud service. With Office 365, your local bakery can get enterprise-caliber software and services for the first time, while a multinational pharmaceutical company can reduce costs and more easily stay current with the latest innovations. People can focus on their business, while we and our partners take care of the technology.
Microsoft’s Office 365 site will go live today at 3:00 p.m. EDT, and customers can sign up there to learn more. Microsoft hasn’t announced a firm public release date for Office 365, though it did say that the suite would be generally available in 40 countries next year. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →