Microsoft Office 365 beta: first look review

By Dave Bailey 12 May 2011
Microsoft Office 365 logo Verdict: Microsoft's cloud-based Office productivity environment, Office 365, is the future model for users of the company's Office suite of software. Firms will still have to carry out administration, but less so than with an on-premise set-up. SharePoint backup and email archiving are two tasks that disappear with Office 365. For firms deploying E plan Office 365 systems, perhaps the hardest step is the initial configuration and set up of on-premise Exchange and Lync to synchronise with Office 365. Indeed there are already courses on the web for just such scenarios. This is a beta release, and we did expect to see problems with both the operational aspects of Office 365 through the service health dashboard, and the actual functionality in the Office 365 package itself. Presumably Microsoft will have ironed out these problems before unveiling the 'release-to-manufacture' version of the service.          
Overall Rating: four star
Price: £ 4 per user per month on the Office 365 P1 plan. £15.75 per user per month for Office 365 E4 plan Manufacturer: Microsoft
Pros: Office Web Apps great for flexible and home workers and IT professionals on the road; administrative tasks such as SharePoint site and Exchange email archiving disappear. Cons: Navigation between certain admin web pages needs some attention For example, we couldn't get from the Team Site to the Admin webpage; Office Web App save options were inconsistent – we could save Excel files with a different name, but not OneNote, PowerPoint, or Word documents.
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