While we all like to gossip on the web, and a lot of the gossip ends up getting written as fact, often with the “an informed source” addendum stuck on the end for good measure, a lot of it just ain’t true. However, when Jon Roskill, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for the worldwide partner group, tweets that Office 365 will be launched officially on June 28 you have to take notice.
But over the weekend, Jon Roskill tweeted the following:
3 June 28th is the date for General Availability of Office 365! > 100,000 real customers on beta...Partners, are you ready???”
OK, so tweets are tweets and sometimes even highly placed executives get it wrong, but the date would seem to be backed up by Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who at an event in India on May 26 said that June was definitely the date.
Furthermore, there are also other reports around the web indicating that journalists have been invited to an event for June 28 without specifying what the event was about, or what was going on.
Add it all together and the likelihood that Office 365 will be officially launched on June 28 seems quite high, especially as it has been in beta since October last and is under serious pressure from Google Apps to provide cheap, effective and -- dare we say it -- secure office productivity apps.
If you haven’t come across Office 365 at this stage, then it’s probably not for you anyway, but it seems unlikely that users of Microsoft’s major office products will not be affected by it in some way.
Launched in beta last year, Office365 -- with already 100,000 people signed up -- is BPOS rebranded and combines Office Web Apps, online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, with unified communications software Lync and collaboration software SharePoint.
It will take Microsoft a long way into the cloud, and, although pricing plans look slightly complicated, it will need to offer something competitive to Google Apps' US$ 50 per user/ year range, particularly for SMBs, which Microsoft is hoping to attract with the new offering.
For the moment, while we are not saying that it will be launched on June 28, everything is pointing to that. As soon as it does, we’ll let you know.