Office 365 is a line of subscription services offered by Microsoft as part of the Microsoft Office product line. The brand encompasses plans that allow use of the Microsoft Office software suite over the life of the subscription, as well as cloud-based software as a service products for business environments, such as hosted Exchange Server, Skype for Business Server, and SharePoint, among others. All Office 365 plans include automatic updates to their respective software at no additional charge, as opposed to conventional licenses for these programs—where new versions require purchase of a new license.
After a beta test that began in October 2010, Microsoft launched Office 365 on June 28, 2011, as a successor to Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), originally aimed at corporate users. With the release of Microsoft Office 2013, Microsoft expanded Office 365 to include new plans aimed at different types of businesses, along with new plans aimed at general consumers, including benefits tailored towards Microsoft consumer services such as OneDrive (whose integration with Office was a major feature of the 2013 suite).
In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017, Office 365 revenue overtook that of conventional license sales of Microsoft Office software for the first time.
|Initial release||June 28, 2011|
|Operating system||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS|
|Type||Software as a service contract|
Microsoft first announced Office 365 in October 2010; beginning with a private beta with various organizations, leading into a public beta in April 2011, and reaching general availability on June 28, 2011. Facing growing competition from Google's similar service Google Apps, Microsoft designed the Office 365 platform to "bring together" its existing online services (such as the Business Productivity Online Suite) into "an always-up-to-date cloud service" incorporating Exchange Server (for e-mail), SharePoint (for internal social networking, collaboration, and a public web site), and Lync (now Skype for Business) (for communication, VoIP, and conferencing). Plans were initially launched for small business and enterprises; the small business plan offered Exchange e-mail, SharePoint Online, Lync Online, web hosting via SharePoint, and the Office Web Apps, with the enterprise plan also adding per-user licenses for the Office 2010 Professional Plus software and 24/7 phone support. Following the official launch of the service, Business Productivity Online Suite customers were given 12 months to plan and perform their migration from BPOS to the Office 365 platform.
With the release of Office 2013, an updated version of the Office 365 platform was launched on February 27, 2013. The server components were updated to their respective 2013 versions, and Microsoft expanded the Office 365 service with new plans, such as Small Business Premium, Midsize Premium, and Pro Plus. A new Office 365 Home Premium plan aimed at home users was also introduced; the new plan offers access to the Office 2013 suite for up to five computers, along with expanded OneDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype calls monthly. The plan is aimed at mainstream consumers, especially those who want to install Office on multiple computers. A University plan was also introduced, targeted towards users going to post-secondary education. With these new offerings, Microsoft began to offer prepaid Office 365 subscriptions through retail outlets alongside the normal, non-subscription-based editions of Office 2013, which, in comparison, are only licensed for use on one computer.
On March 19, 2013, Microsoft detailed its plans to provide integration with the enterprise social networking platform Yammer (which they had acquired in 2012) for Office 365: such as the ability to use a single sign-on between the two services, shared feeds and document aggregation, and the ability to entirely replace the SharePoint news feed and social functionality with Yammer. The ability to provide a link to a Yammer network from an Office 365 portal was introduced in June 2013, with heavier integration (such as a Yammer app for SharePoint and single sign-on) to be introduced in July 2013.
On July 8, 2013, Microsoft unveiled Power BI, a suite of business intelligence and self-serve data mining tools for Office 365, to be released later in the year. Power BI is primarily incorporated into Excel, allowing users to use the Power Query tool to create spreadsheets and graphs using public and private data, and also perform geovisualization with Bing Maps data using the Power Map tool (previously available as a beta plug-in known as GeoFlow). Users will also be able to access and publish reports, and perform natural language queries on data. As a limited time offer for certain markets (but notably excluding the U.S.), Microsoft also announced that those who purchased an Office 365 Home Premium or University subscription before September 28, 2013 would receive a free one-year Xbox Live Gold subscription.
In March 2014, Microsoft announced that it would rename the "Home Premium" plan to "Home", and add a new "Personal" plan for single users; these new options officially launched on April 15, 2014.
In June 2014, the amount of OneDrive storage offered to Office 365 subscribers was increased to 1 terabyte from 20 GB. On October 27, 2014, Microsoft announced that Office 365 subscribers would receive "unlimited" OneDrive storage. Due to abuse and a general reduction in storage options implemented by Microsoft, the 1 TB cap was reinstated in November 2015.
In April 2017, Microsoft announced that when Office 2016 loses mainstream support on October 13, 2020, access to OneDrive for Business, and Office 365-hosted servers for Skype for Business, will become unavailable to those who are not using Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual in mainstream support.
The Office 365 service consists of a number of products and services. All of Office 365's components can be managed and configured through an online portal; users can be added manually, imported from a CSV file, or Office 365 can be set up for single sign-on with a local Active Directory using Active Directory Federation Services. More advanced setup and features requires the use of PowerShell scripts.
The email service, task management, calendar application, and contacts manager included with business and enterprise Office 365 subscriptions are under the Outlook on the web brand. It includes Outlook Mail, Outlook Calendar, Outlook People, and Outlook Tasks.
Microsoft introduced an email feature called Clutter with Office 365. Clutter remembers user's preferences as it comes to the relevance and importance of emails. It analyses user's pattern of behavior about email topics, if user keeps ignoring emails about a certain topic, Clutter moves those emails to a folder with the same name in Outlook. Users can enable and disable this feature by logging on to Office 365 portal.
Business and enterprise-oriented plans for Office 365 offer access to cloud-hosted versions of Office's server platforms on a software as a service basis, including Exchange, Skype for Business, SharePoint, and the browser-based Office Web Apps suite. Through SharePoint's OneDrive for Business functionality (formerly known as SharePoint MySites and SkyDrive Pro, and distinct from the consumer-oriented OneDrive service), each user also receives 1 TB of online storage. Certain plans also include unlimited personal cloud storage per user.
In lieu of Microsoft's enterprise software, Home plans for Office 365 include premium enhancements for Microsoft's consumer-level online services, including 1 terabyte of OneDrive storage for each user, along with 60 minutes of phone calls per month on the Microsoft-owned Skype VoIP service.
Some plans for Office 365 also include access to the current versions of the Office desktop applications for both Windows (Office 2016) and macOS (Office for Mac 2016) for the period of the subscription. In the case of Office 2016 on Windows, it is installed using a "click-to-run" system which allows users to begin using the applications almost instantaneously while files are streamed in the background. Updates to the software are installed automatically, covering both security updates and major new versions of Office. If an Office 365 subscription lapses, the applications enter a read-only mode where editing functionality is disabled. Full functionality is restored once a new subscription is purchased and activated. Publisher, Access and InfoPath are available on Windows only, and are not available for install on Mac operating systems.
Access to the Office Mobile apps for Android and iOS devices (including both smartphones and tablets) were originally limited to Office 365 subscribers but basic editing and document creation has since been made free for personal use. However, Office 365 is still required to unlock certain advanced editing features, use the apps on devices with screens larger than 10.1 inches, or to use the apps for business use. Outlook Groups was also made available as an app on Windows 10 Mobile.
Office 365 includes several productivity applications that are designed to cover collaboration needs at the organizational, departmental and team levels. Currently, the list of collaboration tools includes OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Skype for Business, Outlook Online and Delve boards. The wide choice of tools is the source of ongoing debates about the purpose of each tool and their optimal application in real business life. There are several approaches to defining the role of Office 365 collaboration tools in an organization. Key aspects that influence the choice of a certain tool are particular communication needs, team size, project specifics, as well as employees’ preferences. According to the use case approach, each collaboration tool suits a particular collaboration scenario. SharePoint Online often serves as a platform for corporate intranets and portals the same way as SharePoint On-Premises does. At the same time, SharePoint Online comes not only with team sites but also with communication sites and hub sites (Office 365 First Release customers will be able to try them out in the first half of 2018). Microsoft Teams enable collaboration channels for public or private communication, as well as voice and video conferences. Outlook Online hosts email-based collaboration. Yammer serves for communication with business users outside of an organization and enables forum-like enterprise-wide and team communication. Skype for Business supports instant messaging, VoIP, audio, video and web conferencing. As for Delve boards, they allow creating boards to group together and share related documents. Additionally, there are Office 365 Groups that represent rather a technological capability within the suite than a tool apart. Office 365 Groups allow creating separate collaboration spaces in other Office 365 tools. An Office 365 Group can be organized in Outlook, SharePoint Online, Yammer, Microsoft Teams and other collaboration tools to diversify the native collaboration capabilities of these applications. For example, if a team collaborates in a Group in Yammer, its members automatically get a team calendar, a shared Outlook inbox, a SharePoint library, a SharePoint team site, a shared OneNote notebook and Planner.
The Office 365 platform uses a rolling release model; updates to the online components of the service are provided once per quarter. On launch, the 2010 versions of server components were used with Office 365. These services were automatically upgraded to their Office 2013 counterparts upon its release in February 2013. With the introduction of Office 2013, Office division head Kurt DelBene stated that minor and incremental updates to the Office desktop software would be provided on a similarly periodic basis to all Office 365 users by means of the streaming system, as opposed to the three-year cycle for major releases of Office that had been used in the past.
Office 365 Education, formerly Office 365 for Education and Microsoft Live@edu, is a free suite of hosted Microsoft services and applications that is intended for educational needs.
The program provides education institutions with a set of hosted collaboration services, communication tools, and mobile, desktop, and web-based applications, as well as data storage capabilities. The suite includes Microsoft applications for collaboration including: Office Live Workspace, Windows Live SkyDrive, Windows Live Spaces, Microsoft SharedView Beta, Microsoft Outlook Live, Windows Live Messenger, and Windows Live Alerts.
The suite is part of Microsoft Education Solutions. With the Microsoft Live ID, the student can sign-in and access multiple Microsoft applications such as Outlook Live, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Spaces, Windows Live SkyDrive, Windows Live Mobile, and others. Universities, colleges, and schools can enroll in the program through a free registration process.
In 2012, Live@edu moved under the umbrella of the Microsoft Office 365 service. The former Outlook Live Answers portal, a forum for asking questions on the Live@edu service, was discontinued on December 17, 2012. Transition was intended to be complete by September 2013.
In December 2011, Microsoft announced that the Office 365 platform was now compliant with the ISO/IEC 27001 security standards, the European Union's Data Protection Directive (through the signing of model clauses), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for health care environments in the United States. At the same time, Microsoft also unveiled a new "Trust Center" portal, containing further information on its privacy policies and security practices for the service. In May 2012, Microsoft announced that Office 365 was now compliant with the Federal Information Security Management Act: compliance with the act would now allow Office 365 to be used by U.S. government agencies.
In spite of claiming to comply with European data protection standards, and in spite of existing Safe Harbor agreements, Microsoft has admitted that it will not refrain from handing over data stored on its European servers to US authorities under the Patriot Act.
Office 365 is available in a number of different subscription plans aimed at different needs and market segments, providing different sets of features at different price points. These include:
|Payment terms||Free||Per user
|Number of users licensed||Unlimited||300||Unlimited||1||5||300||300||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|OneDrive storage per user||5 GB||1 TB||1 TB||1 TB||1 TB||1 TB||1 TB||unlimited||1 TB||unlimited||None|
|Skype for Business||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Office Online apps||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||View attachments only|
|Teams||No||Q1 2017||Q1 2017||No||No||No||Q1 2017||Q1 2017||Q1 2017||Yes||No|
|Skype for Business Server||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|File storage and sharing||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Active Directory integration||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Office mobile apps||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Email storage per user||15 GB||50 GB||50 GB||50 GB||50 GB||none||50 GB||100 GB||Unknown||100 GB||50 GB|
TechRadar gave the 2013 update of Office 365 a 4.5 out of 5, praising its administration interfaces for being accessible to users with any level of expertise, the seamless integration of SkyDrive Pro into the Office 2013 desktop applications, and the service as a whole for being suitable in small business environments, while still offering "powerful" options for use in larger companies (such as data loss protection and the ability to integrate with a local Active Directory instance). However, the service was severely criticized for how it handled its 2013 update for existing users, and its lack of integration with services such as Skype and Yammer.
Microsoft Corporation is a leading developer of PC software. It is best known for its Windows operating system, the Microsoft Office family of productivity software plus services, and the Visual Studio IDE. The company also publishes books (through Microsoft Press) and video games (through Microsoft Studios), and produces its own line of hardware. The following is a list of the notable Microsoft software applications.Microsoft Bookings
Microsoft Bookings is a scheduling tool and is part of the Microsoft Office family of products. Generally released by Microsoft in March 2017, Bookings allows customers of small businesses and companies to book appointments with the company. The application is available to Business Premium subscribers to Office 365.Microsoft Classroom
Microsoft Classroom was an online blended learning platform for schools that aimed to simplify grading assignments and student communication in a paperless way. It was introduced for Office 365 Education subscribers in April 2016.On May 18, 2017 Microsoft announced the retirement of Microsoft Classroom, which was completed on January 31, 2018. Some features of Microsoft Classroom became part of Microsoft Teams in Office 365 Education.Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software applications. Microsoft markets Dynamics applications through a network of reselling partners who provide specialized services. Microsoft Dynamics forms part of "Microsoft Business Solutions". Dynamics can be used with other Microsoft programs and services, such as SharePoint, Yammer, Office 365, Azure and Outlook. The Microsoft Dynamics focus-industries are retail, services, manufacturing, financial services, and the public sector. Microsoft Dynamics offers services for small, medium, and large businesses.Microsoft Forms
Microsoft Forms (formerly Office Forms) is an online survey creator, part of Office 365. Released by Microsoft in June 2016, Forms allow educators to create surveys and quizzes with automatic marking. The data can be exported to Microsoft Excel.In 2019, Microsoft released a preview of Forms Pro which gives users the ability to export date into a Power BI dashboard.Microsoft InfoPath
Microsoft InfoPath is a software application for designing, distributing, filling and submitting electronic forms containing structured data. Microsoft initially released InfoPath as part of Microsoft Office 2003 family. The product features a WYSIWYG form designer in which the various controls (e.g. text box, radio button, checkbox) are bound to data, represented separately as a hierarchical tree view of folders and data fields.
InfoPath 2013 became available for the first time as a freestanding download on September 1, 2015, when Microsoft made it available in its Download Center. However, unlike previous versions of InfoPath, the standalone version of InfoPath 2013 requires an active ProPlus subscription to Office 365. This updated version of InfoPath 2013 (15.0.4733.1000) is designed to work alongside Office 2016, which does not include InfoPath. Its indirect successor is Office Forms, which is currently included only in Office 365 Education.Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office (or simply Office) is a family of client software, server software, and services developed by Microsoft. It was first announced by Bill Gates on August 1, 1988, at COMDEX in Las Vegas. Initially a marketing term for an office suite (bundled set of productivity applications), the first version of Office contained Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. Over the years, Office applications have grown substantially closer with shared features such as a common spell checker, OLE data integration and Visual Basic for Applications scripting language. Microsoft also positions Office as a development platform for line-of-business software under the Office Business Applications brand. On July 10, 2012, Softpedia reported that Office is used by over a billion people worldwide.Office is produced in several versions targeted towards different end-users and computing environments. The original, and most widely used version, is the desktop version, available for PCs running the Windows and macOS operating systems. Office Online is a version of the software that runs within a web browser, while Microsoft also maintains Office apps for Android and iOS.
Since Office 2013, Microsoft has promoted Office 365 as the primary means of obtaining Microsoft Office: it allows use of the software and other services on a subscription business model, and users receive free feature updates to the software for the lifetime of the subscription, including new features and cloud computing integration that are not necessarily included in the "on-premises" releases of Office sold under conventional license terms. In 2017, revenue from Office 365 overtook conventional license sales.
The current on-premises, desktop version of Office is Office 2019, released on September 24, 2018.Microsoft Office 2013
Microsoft Office 2013 (codenamed Office 15) is a version of Microsoft Office, a productivity suite for Microsoft Windows. It is the successor to Microsoft Office 2010 and the predecessor to Microsoft Office 2016. It includes extended file format support, user interface updates and support for touch among its new features. Office 2013 is suitable for IA-32 and x64 systems and requires Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 or a later version of either. A version of Office 2013 comes included on Windows RT devices. Mainstream support ended on April 10, 2018. Extended support ends on April 11, 2023.
Development on this version of Microsoft Office was started in 2010 and ended on October 11, 2012, when Microsoft Office 2013 was released to manufacturing. Microsoft released Office 2013 to general availability on January 29, 2013. This version includes new features such as integration support for online services (including OneDrive, Outlook.com, Skype, Yammer and Flickr), improved format support for Office Open XML (OOXML), OpenDocument (ODF) and Portable Document Format (PDF) and support for multi-touch interfaces.
Microsoft Office 2013 comes in twelve different editions, including three editions for retail outlets, two editions for volume licensing channel, five subscription-based editions available through Microsoft Office 365 program, the web application edition known as Office Web Apps and the Office RT edition made for tablets and mobile devices. Office Web Apps are available free of charge on the web although enterprises may obtain on-premises installations for a price. Microsoft Office applications may be obtained individually; this includes Microsoft Visio, Microsoft Project and Microsoft SharePoint Designer which are not included in any of the twelve editions.
On February 25, 2014, Microsoft Office 2013 Service Pack 1 (SP1) was released.Microsoft Office 2016
Microsoft Office 2016 (codenamed Office 16) is a version of the Microsoft Office productivity suite, succeeding both Office 2013 and Office for Mac 2011, and preceding Office 2019 for both platforms. It was released on macOS on July 9, 2015 and on Microsoft Windows on September 22, 2015 for Office 365 subscribers. Mainstream support ends on October 13, 2020, and extended support ends on October 14, 2025. The perpetually licensed version on macOS and Windows was released on September 22, 2015. Since its successor Office 2019 only supports Windows 10 or Windows Server 2019, this is the last version of Microsoft Office compatible with Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows Server 2016.Microsoft Office 2019
Microsoft Office 2019 is the current version of Microsoft Office, a productivity suite, succeeding Office 2016. It was released to general availability for Windows 10 and for macOS on September 24, 2018. Some features that had previously been restricted to Office 365 subscribers are available in this release.Microsoft Office mobile apps
Microsoft Office mobile apps are productivity mobile apps currently developed by Microsoft for Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, iOS, Android, and also works on Chrome OS. The core apps are Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Other Office apps, including Sway, Skype for Business, and SharePoint Newsfeed are available for download from the mobile app store on supported devices and platforms. They are meant to be compatible with desktop versions of the office suite. The suite of apps is free of charge for consumers with devices smaller than 10.1 in (26 cm), but business customers need to purchase an Office 365 subscription to take full advantage of the suite on larger screens.Originally released as Pocket Office on Windows CE v1.0 Handheld PCs in 1996, they were ported to Windows Mobile and Symbian. Word, PowerPoint, and Excel were previously bundled under the Office Hub for Windows Phone free of charge, while OneNote for Windows Phone was a standalone application.Microsoft Online Services
Microsoft Online Services is Microsoft's hosted-software offering and a component of their software plus services strategy. Microsoft Online Services are hosted by Microsoft and sold "with" Microsoft partners.The suite includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Communications Online, Microsoft Forefront, and Microsoft Office Live Meeting.For businesses, the Software-plus-Services approach enables organizations to access the capabilities of enterprise software through on-premises servers, as online services, or a combination of both, depending on specific business requirements. Services also provide the option to add complementary capabilities that enhance on-premises server software and simplify system management and maintenance.Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager from Microsoft, available as a part of the Microsoft Office suite. Although often used mainly as an email application, it also includes a calendar, task manager, contact manager, note taking, journal, and web browsing.
It can be used as a stand-alone application, or can work with Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SharePoint Server for multiple users in an organization, such as shared mailboxes and calendars, Exchange public folders, SharePoint lists, and meeting schedules. Microsoft has also released mobile applications for most mobile platforms, including iOS and Android. Developers can also create their own custom software that works with Outlook and Office components using Microsoft Visual Studio. In addition, Windows Phone devices can synchronize almost all Outlook data to Outlook Mobile.Microsoft Planner
Microsoft Planner is a planning application available on the Microsoft Office 365 platform. The application is available to premium, business, and educational subscribers to Office 365.On June 6, 2016 Microsoft made the application available for general release and intends to roll it out over coming weeks to eligible subscription plans.Planner enables users and teams to create plans, assemble and assign tasks, share files, communicate and collaborate with other users, and receive progress updates via various means on the Office 365 platform. Each new plan created in Planner automatically creates a new Office 365 group.Microsoft Stream
Microsoft Stream is a corporate video-sharing service that was released on June 20, 2017 that will gradually replace the existing Office 365 Video,Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a unified communications platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration. The service integrates with the company's Office 365 subscription office productivity suite and features extensions that can integrate with non-Microsoft products. Microsoft Teams is a competitor to services such as Slack and is the evolution and upgrade path from Microsoft Skype for Business.
Microsoft announced Teams at an event in New York, and launched the service worldwide on 14 March 2017. It was created, and is currently led, by Brian MacDonald, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft.Microsoft mobile services
Microsoft Mobile Services are a set of proprietary mobile services created specifically for mobile devices, they are typically offered through mobile applications and mobile browser for Windows Phone, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Nokia platforms, BREW, and Java ME. Microsoft's mobile services are typically connected with a Microsoft account and often come preinstalled on Microsoft's own mobile operating systems while they are offered via various means for other platforms. Microsoft started to develop for mobile computing platforms with the launch of Windows CE in 1996 and later added Microsoft's Pocket Office suite to their Handheld PC line of PDAs in April 2000. From December 2014 to June 2015, Microsoft made a number of corporate acquisitions, buying several of the top applications listed in Google Play and the App Store including Acompli, Sunrise Calendar, Datazen, Wunderlist, Echo Notification Lockscreen, and MileIQ.Outlook on the web
Outlook on the web (previously called Exchange Web Connect, Outlook Web Access (OWA), and Outlook Web App in Office 365 and Exchange Server 2013) is a personal information manager web app from Microsoft. It is included in Office 365, Exchange Server, and Exchange Online. It includes a web-based email client, a calendar tool, a contact manager, and a task manager. It also includes add-in integration, Skype on the web, and alerts as well as unified themes that span across all the web apps. Outlook on the web is navigated using the App Launcher icon which brings down a list of web apps from which the user may choose. In 2015, Microsoft started upgrading Outlook.com and Outlook on the web to use the Office 365 infrastructure, which was almost complete in January 2017 after the next version of Outlook.com was released.VoloMetrix
VoloMetrix, Inc. is an American subsidiary of Microsoft based in Seattle, Washington. VoloMetrix sells people analytics software that combines data from collaboration platforms to create data visualizations and dashboards. At the end of April 2013, the company raised $3.3M in series A funding from Shasta Ventures. In October 2014, VoloMetrix announced a series B funding round with Shasta Ventures and Split Rock Partners that raised $12M. In September 2015, Microsoft announced that they had acquired the company, but did not disclose the amount. The acquisition was made to improve existing Microsoft offerings such as Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Delve.