Getting Used to Frequent Updates
Another concern that many large organizations had in the early days of Office 365 was that Microsoft's policy of releasing regular updates introducing new functionality and bug fixes might break other software that works with the online suite.
But Microsoft has worked to overcome this problem, notably by offering an Office 365 for business roadmap and by introducing programs such as First Release. In some circumstances this can give companies the opportunity to test changes to Office 365 to ensure it doesn't break anything before the changes are rolled out to the rest of the organization.
Gartner's Jeffrey Mann believes that most organizations are now happy with the idea of frequent updates to the Office 365 suite. "I think they are getting used to it, and it has only happened once that an update to Office 365 really broke stuff. Other than that there have not been a lot of issues apart from really obscure ones that only affected companies with specific advanced configurations," he says.
Microsoft surprised many observers in early November by offering consumers new, free, Word, PowerPoint and Excel apps for iOS and Android which can create and edit Office documents. Previously these capabilities were only available to users with an Office 365 subscription.
What's not widely acknowledged is that in the license to the new Office apps Microsoft states that without an Office 365 subscription, as well as viewing documents "you may also create, edit or save documents for non-commercial purposes."
That's prompted some people to suggest that Microsoft may be hoping to tempt business users to start using and liking the "free" apps without a subscription and then hit them for Office 365 subscriptions if they use the apps for business purposes.
But Mann believes it is very unlikely that Microsoft will pursue anyone for using the apps for business purposes - - even if their company's own compliance departments might. He says that the reason that Microsoft has started "giving away" basic but functional versions of its Office apps is simple.
"It comes down to competition with Google," he says. "Google gives those apps away, so Microsoft has to too. But if you use Word, Excel and PowerPoint then you are more likely to use OneDrive and Yammer and so on, so you are more likely to end up using paid-for things."
Office 365 for Continuity
Talking of Google, Keitt says that while the promise of lower costs was the driving force for many companies moving to the Google Apps cloud office suite five years ago, it's the promise of what the suite can do for the way that a company operates that motivates some companies to choose Google Apps over Office 365 today.
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