Microsoft's (News - Alert) Office 365 continued to make headlines this past week, largely with news of new customers using the cloud productivity suite, but also with some exciting mobile news.
Businesses in Australia particularly seem to be flocking to Office 365, according to a survey of 330 CEOs in the region. The majority of respondents said they use Microsoft's productivity suite, while Google Apps came in second, followed by Novell GroupWise and IBM (News - Alert) Lotus Notes.
While Google has managed to leverage the popularity of its Gmail brand, Office 365 has managed to rise above as the preferred productivity suite with companies like Webjet, an online travel company, Origin, Mr. Rental, Quantas and Caltex choosing it above competing suites.
Meanwhile, Office 365 has managed to become widely used in the education sector as well, with many colleges and universities choosing it to handle administrative, research and instructional needs.
The University of California, Merced, recently chose CloudBearing to help it make the switch to Office 365. Office 365 was favored over Google (News - Alert) Apps for a number of reasons, namely 25GB mailboxes, mobile calendar syncing, SharePoint document management and file sharing, and Lync instant messaging.
Likewise, Office 365 has gathered a major following in the virtual marketplace, picking up retail chain Dixon and global infrastructure consultancy group Opus as customers within the last week. This will allow employees from both companies to work remotely with ease, while cutting down on overhead costs.
Opus CEO Bruce Tinsley said he wanted a system that was “up-to-date, flexible, and agile,” as well as capable of growing with the company — a description that fits Office 365 perfectly. Microsoft, meanwhile, simply acknowledged that Office 365 is capable of delivering a "more complete experience."
As for mobile news, Microsoft said it plans to release Office for Android and iOS devices in the first quarter of 2013. This functionality isn't unprecedented — Windows Phone devices have featured a full Office suite since day one — but it is long awaited for the two most popular mobile platforms being used today.
Those with an Office 365 account will have access to the mobile app's full functionality, while others can still use the limited free version. While there are a number of alternatives for viewing and even editing Office documents available for Android (News - Alert) and iOS, none approach the capabilities a full Office 365-integrated app will surely provide.
Microsoft also hinted that it may even release a full iPad version of its iOS Office app. Currently, there are some Office services available on the iPad, namely OneNote and Lync, but not a full Office app with Office 365 integration, which would be huge considering how many iPads are being used in business.
However, Bill Koefoed, CFO for Microsoft's Skype (News - Alert) division, pointed out that Office is a major differentiator for the Surface, Microsoft's own 10-inch tablet. Either way, official news should be on the way shortly.
That wraps up this week in review. Check out the Office 365 Channel for more news!
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