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I'd like to learn about Office 365 and how it's paid for.

Is this the next version after Office 2010?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Office 365 is the new name for BPOS (Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite was a terrible name), now that Microsoft is taking cloud services much more seriously.

It's an update of BPOS, moving from Exchange, Communications and SharePoint Servers 2007 to Exchange, Lync and SharePoint 2010 with a few improvements.

The client software for end users is still Office, along with the new Office Web Apps. The subscription costs include Office (although there are subscriptions for kiosk workers that only include the web apps, IIRC).

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Thank you. Does Office WebApps have any usage with non-cloud Exchange? Is there a special 365 version of Outlook for Exchange 2010 in my datacenter? – LamonteCristo Mar 21 '11 at 20:50
@makerofthings: The Office web apps come as part of the standalone SharePoint 2010 Server as well, and are also available on Windows Live and through Facebook ( I have not used Office 365 yet, although I am a BPOS user and re-seller and have signed up for the beta months ago, so I am not sure how they are integrated into the service yet. – paradroid Mar 21 '11 at 21:01
Oh, and the Outlook Web App is part of Exchange 2010 (new name for Outlook Web Access). – paradroid Mar 21 '11 at 21:02

It's licensed per-user.

It's not the "Next" version of Office, it's the "Cloud" version. It's akin to Google Docs, where you edit everything online instead of on your computer.

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There are three major silos of licensing for Office 365: Small Businesses, Enterprise, Academic.

The small business plan (P1 - $6/user/month) has largely been ignored in favor of the Enterprise plans (even by small 1-3 user businesses). This is because Microsoft arbitrarily handcuffed a bunch of major features that they figured small businesses wouldn't need. We've moved 3 customers onto P1 and had to later move two of those firms back off because key features they needed were locked down. We've adopted a policy of never selling the Small business plan since then.

The enterprise plan ranges from $2 - $22/per user/month depending upon the features you are looking for. Here are some useful guides:

An overview of all general pricing info:

An deeper dive into what the different mailserver features are with different plans:

Lastly, the Academic plans are licensed completely differently where students are typically free if staff pay.

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