Office 365 is an important product for Microsoft, as it ties together its productivity software and the cloud into a single package that both competes with the likes of Google Docs, and positions the company on the forward curve of technological progress.
We’ve covered Office 365 regularly since it came out in June, noting its low price points and focus on collaboration and cohesion. It has had its share of bumps along the way, but on the whole, Office 365 has been well received and generally liked. It’s been one of, if I may offer my opinion, Microsoft’s better product launches of the last year.
Today, Microsoft released some important statistics on the product, has readied it for launch in a grip of new countries, and also has detailed important coming feature upgrades. We’ll hit each in turn.
According to the Microsoft post on the matter, “more than 90 percent of our early Office 365 customers [are] coming from small businesses,” implying that the product’s prices and sales channels are functioning well in reaching smaller customers. This is not to be taken lightly, given how new the ‘cloud’ is to most business people. That Microsoft has so successfully sold it to reticent small companies is an achievement. It also raises the stakes of its rivalry with Google, a company that has long sold its products to that segment of business.
Adding to that, Microsoft claims that “[c]ustomers are adopting Office 365 eight times faster than our previous service, and the solution is on track to become one of our fastest-growing offers in Microsoft history.”
As of today, Microsoft is opening the doors to Office 365 in 22 new countries, including Taiwan. This will offer the product new avenues to support continued growth. Finally, Microsoft is releasing some welcome upgrades to Office 365, including “Support for Windows Phone 7.5,” Support for Lync for Mac,” and improved SkyDrive integration. It’s an attractive upgrade.
Taken all together, the Office brand is showing little sign of becoming moribund, despite being only one year younger than myself.