By all accounts, 2012 was a busy year for Office 365 provider Microsoft (News - Alert), including its introductions of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Both moves have bolstered Microsoft’s presence in the ever-growing mobile and BYOD (bring your own device) markets.
However, in recent months, competition between Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google (News - Alert) Apps platforms has continued to heat up, a recent CIO.com report pointed out.
“The year also saw the continued threat of Google Apps against Office 365, the departure of another top Microsoft executive and the bold introduction of Microsoft’s first branded hardware to run Windows, the Surface tablet,” said CIO.com’s Shane O’Neill.
By year-end, the pricing wars between Google and Microsoft reached an all-time high. Google is now charging to use its formerly free Gmail service as it hopes to grab more revenue outside of its Internet advertising business.
Google officials said the reason the company is charging for Google Apps is because businesses quickly outgrow the basic version and want things like 24/7 customer support and larger inboxes.
Google Apps, which rivals Microsoft’s Office 365, has been popular among SMBs, but now that the search engine giant is charging for its word processing and business applications suite, Microsoft might see more opting for Office 365.
Office 365 offers SMBs enterprise-class security and reliability, IT control and efficiency and user familiarity and productivity.The cloud-based experience of Office 365 provides employees with a workspace that does not result in a significant learning curve, according to a recent Microsoft article, “The Benefits of an Office 365 Workspace.”
“If your business already uses programs like Microsoft Office, Outlook, SharePoint and others, your employees will merely be transitioning to a similar, but cloud-based experience,” the article said. “Moreover, since these programs are hosted on the cloud, employees can access information while on the go, from any laptop, PC or smartphone, depending on WiFi (News - Alert) capability or phone network availability.”
In addition, Microsoft has enhanced some of Office 365’s programs, including a MailTips feature that acts as an assistant, as well as Lync Online, which now works with SharePoint Online and Office, so that workers can communicate and collaborate via audio and video chats and desktop sharing.
As we usher in 2013, we can look forward to many more exciting changes and upgrades to Office 365.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein