- New contact database called People
- Newsfeed for RSS, blog posts and status updates
- Centralised view of SharePoint sites
- Two new plans, Small Business Premium and MidSize Business
- Social features from Yammer
Microsoft has updated the business programs behind its cloud software platform, Office 365. New features in the release: a new contact database called People, a newsfeed combining RSS feeds, status updates and blog posts, and a centralised view of individual and team SharePoint sites.
Office 365 users on the road who wanted more power than the lightweight Office Web Apps could stream the full programs from their PCs to their iPads or Windows tablets (the feature was not available to Mac users).
Last week’s update gave Office 365’s communications platform, Lync Online, the ability to make multiparty videoconferencing in high definition.
Microsoft said that, by June, Lync users would be able to make calls, send instant messages and show presence status with users on Skype, another Microsoft acquisition.
Social sharing features from recent Microsoft acquisition Yammer had also been added to SharePoint Online.
A range of updates also made it easier for IT administrators to set up, secure and manage Office 365. Computerworld UK has a good summary of the benefits of the administrator changes to Office 365.
Microsoft added two more plans to the Office 365 portfolio, which comprised at least seven configurations already.
At the lowest end, the Small Business (P1) plan now has a big brother Premium plan which included the latest Office desktop software (Microsoft Office 2013) with each user’s subscription. The desktop software was part of the subscription licence and could not be used if a user stopped paying the monthly fee for Office 365. However, a user could install the desktop software on up to five devices (Windows 8 tablets, PCs, Macs and Windows 8 Phones).
The Small Business Premium plan was targeted at businesses up to 10 users and cost $13.50 per user per month from Telstra compared to $7.90 per user per month for the Small Business plan.
The Midsize Business (M) plan for 10 to 250 employees also included desktop Office 2013 and cost $16.50 per user per month. The Midsize Business plan has replaced the E2 plan and sat between the E1 and E3 enterprise plans ($12.70 and $33.30 per user per month, respectively).
However, the Midsize plan was more restricted than the enterprise plans, including the cheaper E1 plan. The Midsize plan was limited to 300 users (the enterprise plans were unlimited), could create up to 20 SharePoint intrasites (versus 3,000 on the enterprise plan), as well as restrictions to more technical features.
Image credit: Office 365