Today, we announced Office 365, our next generation cloud productivity service.  Office 365 brings Exchange, SharePoint and Lync Online together with Office desktop software as a cloud service.  The technology will provide the latest, most complete, up-to-date service you can buy.  It's everything you already know and use with Office, and it's online and designed to work with the software, phones and browsers people use most today-so it's familiar, comfortable and intuitive.  With Office 365, we have 24/7 phone and community support already in place, and we will also meet the most rigorous security and privacy practices in the industry.

 

Our products are evolving just as the way people work.  And with the evolution of our products, comes an evolution of our brands.   Lync, as many of you already know, is the new family brand for products formerly known as Communications Server, Communications Online and Communicator, which also includes Lync Online. This is why I'm thrilled to share with you information specifically about Microsoft Lync Online-the next generation of Unified Communications.  Lync Online is a key component of Office 365 and will give customers the opportunity to host a  Lync solution in the cloud.  Office 365 customers will also get a copy of the Lync rich client with their subscription.

 

Lync Online with IM, presence, audio and video conferencing and PC-to-PC voice calling will launch when Office 365 is generally available.  Full telephony will not be part of the initial Lync Online offer, but we are committed to bringing a richer voice experience - beyond PC-to-PC audio - into Office 365 in future updates.  And, with Office 365, customers can get licenses to on-premises Lync voice functionality in some offers. So, customers can use on-premises Lync technology to replace their existing PBX systems, and use Lync Online in the cloud for IM, presence and conferencing.  And, they have the additional option of having their Lync voice solutions hosted by one of our partners, including BT, Intercall and Verizon. 

 

With the introduction of audio and video conferencing in Lync Online, Office Live Meeting customers will continue to receive support but will also have the choice to transition to Lync Online conferencing within one year following global availability.  Customers can purchase Live Meeting standalone until Office 365 launches next year, so we encourage customers who are ready to deploy today, to take advantage of these services now and get Lync Online as part of Office 365 in the future. 

 

You can get more information about Office 365 at: www.office365.com and sign up to get a place in the beta.  You can also see the previous post on the next generation of cloud productivity service here.

 

As a reminder, we are on track to deliver Lync Server by the end of this calendar year, and encourage you to try it via our free public release candidate:  http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/lync/try-it_lync.aspx

 

And please, watch this space as we keep you updated on all the latest happenings with Lync Online.

 

Kirk Gregersen

Senior Director