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Office 365 News & Analysis

Microsoft Ignites 'One' Enterprise Strategy

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It’s still only October, but already some companies are starting to talk about what they plan to do next year. Unfortunately, the word from most tends to be pretty vague this far in advance.

Microsoft is no exception.

However, one thing Microsoft has given some very concrete details about is its conference line-up for 2015. 

For the first time ever, Microsoft is bring all its enterprise business applications together in a new conference called Ignite.

Microsoft Gives Office 365 More Social Love

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Microsoft wants to make it easier to search and collaborate. 

Last week it improved the social collaboration abilities of Office 365 by upgrading Outlook Web App (OWA). This week, it's giving OWA more love by improving the OWA interface and navigation tree to make it easier to use, especially on tablets.

Real Bedfellows? Salesforce, Office 365, OneDrive & Power BI #DF14

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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff knew the conversation would be special, so on the opening day of Dreamforce, Salesforce’s user conference in San Francisco this week, he brought Microsoft Windows Vice President Tony Prophet on stage for a fireside chat.

After some genuine, inspirational, heart-to-heart talk about their mutual charitable work at Benioff’s Children’s Hospital at University of California San Francisco (UCSF), among other things, Benioff dropped his jaw.

"A year ago at Dreamforce we would not have thought Microsoft would have been here, on stage,” he said. “It's a shock."

And to him it certainly seemed to be, and for good reason. But are things always what they seem? 

Personalizing Your Office 365 Content with Graph and Delve

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Last month, Microsoft introduced Delve, built on top of Microsoft Graph. Graph joined people across the enterprise in a single, unified… well graph. But Delve offered those connected users a way to find each other.

There is a lot of reason to be excited about it, especially for those who have been following the Microsoft One strategy.

That strategy was further clarified by CEO Satya Nadella’s Mobile First, Cloud First mantra. But it wasn’t entirely clear for those outside the loop what Delve is and where it came from.

To clarify this we asked Cem Aykan, senior product manager for Office Graph and Delve.

Microsoft Sweetens Office 365 Collaboration Options

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Think collaboration and you think Google. Maybe. Or Box or Dropbox. You don’t think Office 365 really, even though its enterprise collaboration abilities have greatly improved in the past two years. However, that could change. Microsoft has just made it a lot easier to collaborate using Outlook Web App (OWA).

It is doing that by making it easier to share files using OneDrive for Business. Specifically, it is targeting email attachments and email threads that can lead to all kinds of unpleasant problems around versioning.

Google Counters Office 365 Price Cuts With New Partnership

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Google has responded to Microsoft's price cuts of Office 365 for SMBs by launching a new partnership with Rackspace.

Rackspace is offering US customers fully managed IT services for the Google Apps for Work suite, which includes Gmail, Drive and Hangouts. It will also offer Rackspace's migration, deployment and account management services. 

Microsoft Makes Office 365 Cheap Enough That You Can Ignore Google

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Keeping a schedule set at its Worldwide Partner Conference in July, Microsoft has finally released service plans that will make it cheaper for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to use Office 365.

There is a small sting in the program, which went into effect last week. New customers can access the new and cheaper plans straight away, but those already signed up to Office 365 SMB plans will have to wait until late next year before they will transitioned to the new plans.

Just How Badly Does Microsoft Want Your OneDrive Biz?

While you were out last Friday night -- having drinks, watching your local high school team play football under the lights, dancing or enjoying a quiet dinner with that special someone -- Douglas Pearce was in his office at Microsoft penning a blog post.

Even the he knew the timing was weird.

“While it might seem strange to announce new features on a Friday evening,” Pearce, the group program manager for OneDrive, wrote in the company’s blog, “we’ve been listening to the commentary about storage on the new iPhones released today and we wanted to get you more storage right away.”

Parlez-Vous Windows 9? Microsoft French Exec Leaks Update

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The Microsoft rumor mill became reality in France.

Reports are blowing up on the Web that a French Microsoft executive revealed Microsoft will unveil Windows 9 next Tuesday.

"Last year we had Windows 8. In the next few minutes, the next few days, we'll be releasing Windows 9," Alain Crozier, president of Microsoft France and a vice president of Microsoft International, said during a company presentation.

Ever since Microsoft sent out invitations to a secret press event for Sept. 30 in San Francisco, rumors have been circulating that it would mark the next major release of Windows.

But no one wants to have the thunder of a secret press conference spontaneously dashed by the mutterings of an international VP. So naturally, the Redmond, Wa. software giant went into backtrack mode immediately, telling ZDNet in a statement, "We look forward to seeing you in late September in San Francisco for the future of Windows, which actually at this stage does not have a name as such."

Microsoft: Get 'Em While They're Young

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What's the best way to make a lifelong customer? Microsoft apparently believes in getting them while they are young. In its latest assault on the productivity suite market, it is offering Office 365 to students for free.

Yes, yes. They were getting it free already through the Student Advantage program, but that wasn’t quick enough.

Microsoft wants all students signed up lickety-split and that means enabling them to sign-up themselves, for free and without all the rough stuff around licenses and school-based IT departments.

Microsoft Puts Pieces Together with Office 365 Home Page

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Google has been making a lot of ground in recent months with the addition of lots of new functionality to Google Apps, now called Google Apps for Work.

And Microsoft hasn’t been slouching either. However, Microsoft upgrades have been a little more subtle — and it’s often hard to track what has been added or even what tools you have at your disposable.

But now we have something concrete: Microsoft just announced that it has upgraded the portal page for Office 365, which is being rolled out to current SharePoint and Exchange customers as of today.

Is Microsoft Going To Preview Windows 9, or Office 16?

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No sooner did the party invitations start landing in people’s mailboxes than the rumor mill cranked up a few gears and went into hyper drive.

According to the invites, which Microsoft started sending out yesterday, the September 30 event will be about Windows.

Speculation is rife already that what we might actually get is a technical preview of the long-awaited Windows 9, but that’s not all. There may also be news of a technical preview of Office.

In Boston, a Microsoft official at the SharePoint Technology Conference only confirmed there will be a September 30 announcement and declined to provide any details when asked by CMSWire. 

An Alternative Migration Strategy: Travel Light

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When I was a kid, some of the best travels were vacations with my family. My parents would plan a vacation for weeks. They ordered custom maps from Texaco, marking the preferred scenic route and gas station exits of every Interstate on the map. (Dad worked for Texaco.) Hotel reservations were made in advance. ATMs were nonexistent, so Dad exchanged cash for traveler’s checks. Toys, food and drink were all carefully packed away so that we were prepared for any contingency.

Is Microsoft Even Pushing SharePoint Users into the Cloud? #SPTechCon

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BOSTON -- The cloud. SharePoint.

Wait, what? Not me. Not us. Not anytime soon, if ever.

That captures some of the sentiment we heard here among the nearly 1,000 people at the SharePoint Technology Conference at the Boston Park Plaza hotel.

David Maldonado, an analyst programmer at the University of New Mexico's health division (pictured with co-worker Erin Youtzy), came up with a few words to answer the cloud proposition in SharePoint: "HIPAA. Personal information. Health records."

Which Cloud Office Suite: Microsoft or Google? #gartnerpcc

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Gartner Research Vice President Jeffrey Mann has added another snarl to the Microsoft versus Google brawl in the productivity space.

He also took time to fire at IBM’s SocialBusiness for the SmartCloud, calling it a "nice try" that is unlikely to catch on.

Speaking at the Gartner Portals, Content and Collaboration summit in London today, he pointed out that Microsoft, which already has the lion’s share of the market, is going to increase its presence at the expense of other players.

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