Microsoft raises Office for Mac 2011 prices, pushes customers toward Office 365




Three weeks after Microsoft released Office 365 Home Premium, a subscription-based service that gives Macs, PCs and Windows tablets access to the complete set of Office applications, it was discovered that the Redmond company quietly upped the price of single use Office for Mac copies by as much as 17 percent.

First spotted by Computerworld, the new pricing structure puts the outdated Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 in the same tier as its newer PC counterpart, Office 2013 for Windows. Also deprecated from the Mac version are multi-license bundles, meaning those interested in purchasing can now only install the software on one device at a time.

The publication proposes that the change was designed to spur sales of Microsoft’s newest Office 365 suite, the “Home Premium” version of which includes a complete set of Office applications that can be installed on up to five Macs, PCs, and Windows tablets. To access the cloud-based solution, users pay a yearly subscription of $99.99. Student pricing comes in at a substantially cheaper $79.99 for a four-year subscription to Office 365 University.

Microsoft now charges $140 for the single-license Office for Mac Home & Student and $220 for Office for Mac Home & Business, a respective 17 percent and 10 percent price hike from the previous $120 and $200 price points.

As for the now-extinct multi-license packages, the company once offered a three-license bundle of Office for Mac Home & Student for $150 and a two-license set of Office for Mac Home & Business for $250. Using the new pricing scheme, it would cost $420 to buy three separate licenses of Home & Student and $440 for two Home & Business licenses, representing 180 percent and 76 percent increases from the erstwhile bundles, respectively.

While Microsoft and Apple’s respective online stores now reflect the higher prices, Office for Mac 2011 can still be found at the older pricing in both single- and multi-license versions from online retailers like Amazon.


Yammer versterkt positie met recordgroei

Met ruim zeven miljoen gebruikers heeft Yammer, aanbieder van interne sociale netwerken en onderdeel van de Microsoft Office-divisie, een recordgroei in 2012 gerealiseerd. Hiermee wint het bedrijf fors terrein in de zakelijke markt voor sociale netwerken.

“2012 was een geweldig jaar voor Yammer, dat met name in het laatste kwartaal flink is gegroeid. Onze marktpositie is zeker versterkt na de acquisitie van Microsoft”, zegt David Sacks, medeoprichter van Yammer en Corporate Vice President van de Microsoft Office Division. “Door de kracht van het freemium model en de autoriteit die Microsoft toevoegt aan Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) wordt Yammer door steeds meer toonaangevende organisaties geadopteerd. ESN ontwikkelt zich tot de hoeksteen van een interactieve werkomgeving die aan de basis staat van een grotere betrokkenheid van medewerkers, samenwerking tussen teams en een grotere slagvaardigheid van bedrijven.”

Recordgroei klanten
Yammer heeft in het vierde kwartaal van 2012 een recordaantal van 290 betalende klanten aan haar klantenbestand toegevoegd, waaronder DWF LLP, GlaxoSmithKline, Grundfos, McGladrey LLP, Reckitt Benckiser, Rio Tinto, SABMiller, T.G.I. Friday’s, Trek Bicycle Corp. en Woolworths. Deze klanten zijn actief in uiteenlopende markten, variërend van de financiële en zakelijke dienstverlening tot de gezondheidszorg en farmaceutische sector. Onder deze bedrijven bevinden zich één van de grootste retailers ter wereld en één van de belangrijkste leveranciers van natuurlijk gas en elektriciteit in de Verenigde State


What Office 2013’s draconian licensing policy really means for you

Microsoft may be pushing a little too hard to make Office 2013 an impractical, less appealing option than Office 365.

PC World – Microsoft might be selling two versions of its Office suite, but its licensing policies suggest the company is not only trying to thwart software piracy, but alsoA drive customers away from Office 2013 and over to the Office 365 subscription model.

Network World.

Microsoft Azure overtakes Amazon’s cloud in performance test

Microsoft Azure’s cloud outperformed Amazon Web Services in a series of rigorous tests conducted by Nasuni, a storage vendor that annually benchmarks cloud service providers (CSPs).

Nasuni uses public cloud resources in its enterprise storage offering, so each year the company conducts a series of rigorous tests on the top CSPs’ clouds in an effort to see which companies offer the best performing, most reliable infrastructure. Last year, Amazon Web Services’ cloud came out on top, but this year Microsoft Azure outperformed AWS in performance and reliability measures. AWS is still better at handling extra-large storage volumes, while Nasuni found that the two OpenStack powered clouds it tested — from HP and Rackspace — were lacking, particularly at larger scales.

CLOUD SHOWDOWN: Amazon vs. Rackspace (OpenStack) vs. Microsoft vs. Google

DIY CLOUD: Choose your own virtual machine image sizes with some cloud providers ]

Nasuni conducted the tests on five of the largest CSPs: Azure, AWS, HP, Rackspace and Google Cloud. A write/read/delete test determined how effective each provider was at uploading data of various sizes (between 1KB and 1GB) to its cloud, recalling the randomly generated file and deleting it. Microsoft Azure was 56% faster than AWS S3 when it came to writing data into its cloud, and 39% faster when reading data.

Another test measured how reliable the clouds were by conducting a read/write/delete every minute for a month straight and determining how consistent the process is when repeated that many times. Azure was 25% faster on average compared to AWS S3 when performing a repetitive task every 60 seconds for 30 days.

A third test measured how the clouds handled increasingly larger file sizes being continuously uploaded to its cloud. AWS came out on top in that test with a variance of 0.6% as larger and larger files were placed into its cloud, with Azure coming in a close second with a 1.9% variance. The OpenStack-powered clouds were not as reliable when scaled up to extremely large file storage, with HP and Rackspace’s cloud having variance levels of 23.5% and 26.1% respectively.

This is the second year in a row that Nasuni has conducted the tests and the year-over-year change in the results shows how rapidly the industry is evolving. Last year Nasuni anointed AWS as the top cloud provider with Microsoft Azure in a close second, but both providers had enough errors and performance issues that Nasuni did not consider them mature enough for use in enterprise storage solutions.

Microsoft has made significant investments to beef up its Azure cloud in the past year, though, including expanding it from a platform as a service (PaaS)-focused offering for application developers to now being an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) where compute and storage resources can be rented by the hour. Microsoft even started offering Linux virtual machines in its cloud.

“CSPs tested this year demonstrated clear advancements over last year, including improved performance and fewer errors,” the report states. “It is clear that the minimum bar is moving upward, which is excellent news for the cloud storage market as a whole. As more CSPs mature into enterprise-class cloud storage providers, organizations and vendors will be able to leverage competitive advancements in price and technology to improve their overall storage infrastructure.

Network World.

Lync-to-phone: What It Is and How It Works

Great post by PatrickK from Microsoft on the subject Lync-to-phone, What It Is and How It Works
Lync-to-phone for Office 365 gives your business the power of a complete communications system without having to install any costly equipment. With an appropriate Office 365 service plan and a Lync-to-phone provider, you can give your users a complete unified communications experience:

Get the calling features you need to stay in touch and stay productive wherever you go:

Lync-to-phone feature Description
Make calls to, and receive calls from, any phone number Extend the reach of Lync Online by connecting  to the traditional telephone network
Forward callsSimultaneous ring Forward calls to another number, or have another  phone ring at the same time as your work number
Transfer calls Transfer the call you’re on from your computer to your mobile phone or any other number
Caller ID You can screen calls, and identify yourself to outside callers
Call via your work number on your mobile device With the Lync client installed on your smart phone or tablet, you can display your work number to the person you’re calling
Delegate calls to an assistant Set up an assistant to make and receive calls on your behalf
Delegate calls to your team Define a group of colleagues who can pick up your incoming calls
Access voice mail from Lync or Outlook With Exchange Online Unified Messaging, you can check your voice mail directly from Lync, and receive transcriptions in email. Requires Exchange Online Plan 2.
Set up Unified Messaging access numbers If your business requires it, you can set up an external number that people can use to access their voice mail if they can’t get to a computer or mobile device.You can also add an auto attendant number for automated routing of incoming calls.

The first qualified Lync-to-phone provider is Jajah Voice for Office 365, with phone numbers currently available for the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK). Additional providers are currently under evaluation but there is no immediate timeline available.

IMPORTANT: Lync-to-phone is not available in organizations with a hybrid server/service deployment.

Service Details

Your Lync-to-phone provider connects you to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). You can

  • Re-use your existing phone numbers
  • Get new local numbers
  • Purchase domestic and international calling plans

IMPORTANT: Lync-to-phone service is billed separately from Office 365. You’ll receive two bills: one from Microsoft for Office 365, and one from your Lync-to-phone provider for telephone network connectivity.

Lync-to-phone is available with the following Office 365 service plans

Office 365 service plan Additional licenses required
Midsize business and enterprise plans E1, E2, or E3 Lync Plan 3Exchange Plan 2
Enterprise Plan E4 None

Service Coverage

The first qualified Lync-to-phone provider is Jajah Voice for Office 365, with phone numbers currently available for the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK). US and UK numbers can be assigned to users in other countries, or used by businesses located in other countries, as long as those countries have Lync Online audio service available, and can provide a US or UK billing address.

Location of your business or your users Lync-to-phone numbers available
US and Canada US numbers
United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (with some exceptions) UK numbers

Emergency services

All emergency calls are routed by your Lync-to-phone provider to a national emergency dispatch center. The dispatch center first determines if the caller is at the location of record for that phone number, or at another location, and if necessary, updates the callers location. The call is then connected to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (in the US) or British Telecom (in the UK).

How it works

Lync-to-phone for Office 365 is a cloud-based voice solution that’s fully integrated with Lync Online and Exchange Online.  This makes your job as an admin much simpler: the network connectivity and routing has already been taken care of, and the Lync-to-phone service provider delivers full data-center resiliency.

Once you’ve contacted a Lync-to-phone provider and purchased new phone numbers—or arranged to have your existing phone numbers ported over—all you need to do as an admin is

  1. Get the necessary licenses and assign them to users
  2. If you’ve purchased new phone numbers, assign them to users
  3. Set up your Lync-to-phone service provider in the Lync admin center
  4. Set up an Exchange Unified Messaging dial plan and assign it to users

See Administering Lync-to-phone for details.

Signaling and Media Flow

Signaling for call setup and control flows between the Lync client and the Lync Online infrastructure. Call media flows directly between the Lync client endpoint and the target of the call, as shown in the following figures.

In calls to or from the traditional telephone network, media flows between the Lync client and the Lync-to-phone provider’s PSTN gateway.

Figure: PSTN call flow

In a conference call, as shown in the figure below, media flows between Lync clients, PSTN callers, and the Lync Online conferencing server.

Figure: Conferencing call flow

Planning for Lync-to-phone

Review and complete all the Lync Online configuration tasks. Of particular importance:

IMPORTANT: If you plan to re-use your existing phone numbers with Lync-to-phone, make sure you complete the configuration steps in the following section before the ported numbers are activated.

Administering Lync-to-phone

Use the Office 365 portal to complete all of your Lync-to-phone configuration tasks:

  • Assign licenses and phone numbers
  • Access the Lync Online Control Panel and Exchange Control Panel

Figure: Office 365 admin home page

Once you’ve set up Office 365 and purchased Lync-to-phone service, complete these tasks to get up and running:

Figure: Lync-to-phone set up overview

Learn more:

Where to go for support

Both Microsoft and your Lync-to-phone provider are available to support their respective services.  In general, Microsoft should be contacted first for support unless there is a problem specific to PSTN calling or the associated billing.

Contact Microsoft for these types of issues:

  • Error when assigning phone number
  • Call features not working – transfer, forward, simultaneous ring
  • Exchange Voice Messaging not working
  • Exchange Auto Attendant and Outlook Voice Access not working
  • Audio Quality issues

Contact your Lync-to-phone provider first with these kinds of issues

  • Incoming calls not completing
  • Outgoing calls not completing
  • Caller ID issues
  • Call transfer to a number fails and the user is always returned to the original conversation
  • Call forward to a number fails with a disconnect tone
  • Gets disconnected in the middle of the call
  • Keypad commands (DTMF signals) aren’t recognized
  • Billing questions

Migrating from third-party providers to Office 365 introduction – Grid User Post – The Grid Blog – Office 365 – Microsoft Office 365 Community

In this article,  Peter O’Dowd describes migrating from third-party email hosting providers. Migrations from an on-premises Microsoft Exchange deployment to Office 365 are covered in depth in Migrate Mailboxes to Office 365 for Enterprises.

Microsoft Office 365 Community.

Microsoft reportedly testing Outlook application for Windows RT | The Verge

Microsoft is reportedly testing an Outlook RT edition of its popular email client. ZDNet reports that the company has finished and is testing a version of Outlook for Windows RT, the operating system used on Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet. At present Windows RT ships with Office 2013 RT Home & Student edition, but the software does not include an Outlook email client.

A full Outlook desktop app for Windows RT would immediately improve the email situation on Windows RT. ARM-based tablet owners are left with a Windows 8-style Mail application that isn’t fully featured and needs a lot of improvement. It’s not clear whether the Outlook RT application is a full desktop version or a Windows 8-style client.

Microsoft is said to be considering releasing Outlook for Windows RT, but ZDNet states that internal divisions are debating the merits of such a release. Microsoft isn’t officially commenting on the rumor, so it’s a waiting game to see if this Outlook RT application ever gets released.

 The Verge.