So Office 365 has announced its large-scale Public Beta late last month where Small Businesses to the Largest Enterprises can sign up to trial this productivity suite which includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync online.  The Public Beta of Office 365 was announced Apr 18th, expanding it to millions more people, in more regions and languages. People can secure their spot in the beta at www.office365.com. We also announced the Office 365 Marketplace, a simple way for customers to find applications and services for Office 365 (already with over 100 apps and 400 services), a new place where Microsoft partners can reach customers, with a community of more than 16,000 cloud partners; and we have announced the ’Office 365: Ready for Work’ Contest’ where small business owners can share their stories and be eligible to win:  (1) Office 365, (2) $50,000 in advertising and business services, or (3) A Microsoft executive to work for them or their charity of choice for a day. Learn more at www.facebook.com/office365

Not familiar with Office 365? Check out my blog post on “What is Office 365” to get a quick snapshot of this Enterprise-Class suite of applications hosted for your business by Microsoft.  Expected to release in 2011, Office 365 will build upon the success of Microsoft’s Online offerings (already with millions of paid Microsoft Online Services users) where more than 100,000 people have already signed up with over 70% being Small Businesses. 

Initially with Office 365 there will be two offerings, Small Business or Enterprise, with an Education Offering expected in the not-to-distant future as an upgrade to Live@Edu customers. 

Office 365 for Small Business

Designed for organizations with up to 25 employees who want:

  • A solution without dedicated IT staff
  • Essential email, calendar, and website services
  • Free community support
  • Month-to-Month subscription

Office 365 Enterprise

Designed for organizations of any size that want:

  • Advanced IT configuration and control
  • Office Professional Plus, Active Directory, or advanced archiving
  • 24x7 IT Administrator support
  • Annual contracts

FREE Office 365 Training

OK, so you’ve done your homework on Office 365 and you’re interested in getting some technical training on Office 365 before you jump in with both feet?  Well, I have great news for you.  For the first time EVER, Microsoft is offering a 3 day, online streamed training on Office 365 for FREERegister here!

May 24-26 Microsoft Learning is hosting a free 3-day Jump Start tailored for IT Pros interested in learning more about preparing for and deploying Office 365. This is the first public training for IT Pros on Office 365.  The course will be streamed live from 10:00-am-4:00pm (Pacific Daylight Time) on all 3 days.  We’ll deliver an overview of Office 365, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online.  Top subject matter experts for each technology will be delivering the content. You can find more info in this MSL blog post.

The full agenda:

Day One — “Office 365 Platform” | May 24, 2011 | 10am-4pm PDT
Microsoft Office 365 Overview for IT Pros
Deploying Clients for Office 365
Administration & Automation using PowerShell
Identity and Access Solutions
Directory Synchronization

Day Two — “Exchange Online” | May 25, 2011 | 10am-4pm PDT
Exchange Online Overview for IT Pros
Exchange Online Administration
Staged Exchange Online Migration
Hybrid Options with Exchange Server & Exchange Online
Exchange Online Archiving & Compliance

Day Three — “Lync & SharePoint Online” | May 26, 2011 | 10am-4pm PDT
Lync Online Overview & Configuration for IT Pros
SharePoint Online Overview
SharePoint Online Administration
SharePoint Online Extensibility & Customization
Office 365 Deployment Overview

Enjoy!