Tag: Office 365

Microsoft gives kids a cloud

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeAs part of its push to dominate the cloud, software giant Microsoft is giving away free Office 365 subscriptions to students outside the US.

Schools will have to buy subscriptions for staff and faculty, but once they do, students  – and even teachers – can self-install for no charge by using a school-issued email address at the Office in education website.

This will give Microsoft a huge customer base for its products, after signing up, kids will get access to the newest Office, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access and Publisher, and be able to install them on up to five computers and five phones or tablets.

An account also comes with Office Online and a 1TB of OneDrive storage.

The move could totally kill off moves by Google to get its cloud storage system into schools, or for that matter Apple’s push to get its expensive tablets into the education market.

The advantage of Microsoft giving away the software to school kids is that it instils a generation with training on its software which will be carried over to business decisions made later in life.

In the US, Apple and Google have been making inroads into the schools market, based on marketing in Apple’s case and cheaper software in Google’s.

Microsoft, Dropbox team up

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEODropbox and Microsoft have signed a deal to integrate their services including Microsoft Office on phones, on tablets and on the internet.

Dropbox currently hosts over 35 billion Office files and 1.2 billion people use Office.

The deal means that you will be able to access Dropbox from Office applications, edit Office files directly from Dropbox and synchronise them across different kinds of devices.  You will also be able to share new or edited files from Office apps using the Dropbox sharing features.

Microsoft said it will include the features in its next updates to Apple iOS and Google Android operating systems.  These are due in a couple of weeks.

Web integration won’t be available until the first half of next year and Dropbox will make its applications available for Windows Phone and Windows tablet devices.

Dropbox for Business customers need an Office 365 subscription to use the features.

Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, said both companies will provide their shared customers with tools to create, share and collaborate across most nearly all devices.

Minty intY starts channel drive

cloud 1SaaS firm intY claimed that it has forged a “historic agreement” with the mighty Microsoft related to Office 365. SaaS stands for software as a service.

It will offer what it dubs a recurring revenue resale model to its high volume partners.  That means, said intY that its partners can resell rather than just recommend Office 365 – meaning better margins and the ability to sell more services.

Chris Baldock, the chief executive officer of intT, said its major partners had problems with the referral only model. One sticking point was Microsoft’s billing relationship that prevented complementary services being offered by the channel on one invoice.

“This agreement puts our larger channel partners firmly back in the driving seat. They become a reseller with margin and value add.”

Customer adoption, added Baldock, is pretty much reliant on channel partners for migration, support and integration.

So the firm is adding Office 365 for resale in its CASCADE mix.

MS Office appears on Android phones

redmondMicrosoft has announced Office Mobile will now be available to Microsoft 365 subscribers on Android.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced Office Mobile for iPhone, meaning Office software is now available on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, as well as on desktops and laptops.

Existing 365 customers will get access to Office Mobile for Android at no extra cost. It opens up Word, Excel and PowerPoint document reading and editing to the platform.

For now, it’s only available in the United States but more regions are promised in the coming weeks, in 33 languages and 117 markets.

Office Mobile for Android can be found on the Google Play Store, but users will need a qualifying Office 365 subscription, including Office 365 Home Premium and Office 365 ProPlus.

The idea is to sync up mobile work with work at the office or at home. Editing documents in Office Mobile for Android will save changes made in the cloud, and these changes will be accessible from whichever other device or platform customers use. A single subscription is available for up to five mobile devices, excluding Windows Phone which has the app pre-installed.

This app is designed for the phone in mind. We have asked a Microsoft spokesperson if tablet optimised versions will be made available, but for now Microsoft is recommending tablet users go to Office Web Apps.

“We built Office Mobile for Android phones to ensure a great Office experience when using a small screen device,” an FAQ reads. “Therefore you will not be able to download and install Office Mobile for Android phones on an Android tablet from the Google Play Store”.

It’s likely the varied screen sizes have something to do with this.

Anyone interested in trying the app out can sign up for a 30 day Office 365 trial at http://www.office.com.

Microsoft hands over Office 365 to resellers

msMicrosoft has lived up to its pledge made last summer by making cloud suite available through Open licensing from 1 March.

Resellers can bill customers directly for Office 365 eight months after the move was unveiled to applause at the vendor’s Worldwide Partner Conference  in 2012.

This mean that Office 365 will be available to partners on Open and Open Value licensing programmes from next month.

At the moment partners have to use a referral model for reselling Office 365 and get payments for what they sell, with Microsoft controlling billing.

But the new move will mean that resellers the chance to set their own margins and bill customers. It gives them the ability to control and bundle products.

This is important in cloud offerings where resellers show up and offer a one stop shop cloud operation.

It has been a long time coming. Some resellers were expecting to see the plan enacted by the end of the year particularly after Vole launched it with such a big fanfare.  Microsoft claims that the idea has a lot of support, so it is not clear why the plan was so delayed.

However Microsoft still might sail up the nasal passages of resellers by offering a different SKU which means that some customers may still be forced to bypass the partner on billing.  This could be confusing for many customers and resellers who might think they have a product that they don’t.

Microsoft: resellers coming around to cloud

clouds3Traditional resellers have been slow in embracing the cloud, with many predicting the technology was “just a hype,” a Microsoft spokesperson has told ChannelEye.

However, according to Clare Barclay, director of SMB at the company, two years later resellers are embracing market changes.

“Traditional resellers are in a competitive market with younger companies evolving far quicker,” she told ChannelEye. “Two years ago they put Cloud down to just a hype and continued with their business as it was. However, they are now changing.”

Microsoft believes cloud has changed the way resellers and the market operates, eliminating the need for cumbersome software and hardware. Savvy SMBs have also set up their business using this technology to make them appear bigger and offer their customers more services.

“Most SMBs have now realised that they need to capitalise on cloud, and offer services that put them in a position with their competitors,” said Barclay.

She also pointed out that Office 365 was enabling the company’s partners to offer more services to their customers.

“Three to four years ago customers were worried about buying into a cloud based model but now this is aggressively growing we’re seeing a number of partner engaging in monthly based subscriptions,” she said.

Microsoft said it is trying to seduce resellers into cloud confidence by offering training and events programmes to outline the benefits.

Microsoft woos channel with Office 365

cloud 1Businesses and consumers have reached a “tipping point” in the market, leading to a huge appetite for the cloud, a Microsoft’s director of partner and strategy programmes has claimed to ChannelEye.

The company, which, over the past year has brought out a range of new products for both consumers and business, is now trying to win over resellers in the lead up to the launch of Office 365 for the commercial space.

“Last July we called the upcoming year a new wave for Microsoft,” Janet Gibbons, director of partner strategy and programme, told ChannelEye. “Not only was this because of the range of products, including Windows 8, that were launched but also the migration to the cloud.”

She said Office 365 had spearheaded this message with the home version for the first time offering a household licence for up to five devices, including Macs and tablets.

“This was a new way of consuming software,” Ms Gibbons added. “It shows how we’re going to be taking products to market.”

Microsoft says it is doing as much as it can to ensure its partners are ready for the commercial launch of Office 365, on the 27 of this month.

It has also changed the way its resellers can bill clients for the product, meaning that from 1 March resellers will be able to bill customers directly.

The current model for reselling Office 365 sees partners receive kick-back payments for what they sell, with Microsoft controlling billing. However, now resellers will be able to set their own margins and bill customers themselves.

“From a channel perspective we have advised our partners ahead of the launch so they in turn can help their customers,” Gibbons told ChannelEye. “We’re scaling this through distribution channels to target 7,500 partners, offering training and face to face meetings.”

The company has also embarked on licensing training  through December to Feb, putting on a two day event targeting 1,700 partners.

This covers other products relevant to resellers including Sharepoint and Link.

“We’re aiming to catch the market when the market is ready for new changes,” Ms Gibbons said. “From what our resellers tell us, their clients are ready.”