Company spokespersons for Microsoft (News - Alert) aren’t revealing information about Office 365’s revenue, customer or user numbers even though the product has been deployed for a year, according to an article recently featured on PCWorld. Microsoft’s avoidance seems to underscore industry analyst statements that Office 365 was too little of an effort that came too late for the tech giant.
IDC (News - Alert) analyst Melissa Webster put it bluntly: “It hasn’t swept the market by storm.”
However, ZDNet reported that Office Corporate Vice President Kirk Koenigsbauer recently revealed that Microsoft was seeing a new Office 365 trial customer join roughly every 25 seconds. If that number holds true, Microsoft is capturing about 3,500 trial customers per day, or around 103,680 per month. As of right now though, the company has offered no data about how many free trials convert into actual memberships
In some respects, Office 365 has performed well for Microsoft. 90 percent of Office 365 customers are small businesses; Microsoft had hoped that its virtual office would make inroads into that market segment. On the other hand, Google Apps has a more varied customer base that includes five million businesses, government agencies and large universities.
Webster believes that Microsoft’s penetration of the small business market is significant.
“Smaller companies can have the same type of environment major corporations give their employees,” Webster added. “That's a huge sea change. A real strength of Office 365 is its breadth—voice, conferencing, document collaboration, email, calendar—everything the knowledge worker needs.”
One of the main complaints about Office 365 is that Microsoft did not do enough to help businesses migrate from platforms like Office Live Small Business or Business Productivity Online Suite to Office 365. Specifically, users in forums have complained the Microsoft did not provide sufficient migration tools for transferring websites. Users have also stated that the Office 365 provider could have done more to either automate or handle the work.
Microsoft may experience similar complaints if it doesn’t facilitate the migration from Live@edu to Office 365 for Education for its university clientele.
“You'd hope that Microsoft has learned from the feedback it's gotten about this over the past year now that the Live@edu migrations are starting,” IDC analyst Michael Fauscette concluded.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein