Microsoft Office 365 Cloud for Consumers, Home Users Too

Microsoft Office 365 cloud services will extend from enterprises and small businesses into the consumer market this fall. The Office 365 consumer effort surfaced during the Office 2013 Customer Preview, Microsoft today said three new Office 365 cloud offerings are coming. The options are designed for consumers, small business and enterprise customers.

The three new Office 365 subscription services are:

  • Office 365 Home Premium for families and consumers. It also offers 20 GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype world minutes per month, Microsoft said.

  • Office 365 Small Business Premium, featuring business-grade email, shared calendars, website tools and HD webconferencing.

  • Office 365 ProPlus designed for enterprise customers who want advanced business capabilities and the flexibility to deploy and manage in the cloud.

Microsoft added:
"When available, each new subscription offer will include the new 2013 editions of the Office applications — Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access. In addition, subscribers will receive future rights to version upgrades as well as per-use rights across up to five PCs or Macs and mobile devices."

Office 365 Home Premium Partners?

Microsoft did not disclose if or how cloud services providers (CSPs) and channel partners will be able to resell Office 365 Home Premium.

If channel partners aren't involved, the Office 365 Home Premium edition could "train" customers to buy more cloud services directly from Microsoft, without local partner expertise involved. For that reason, it's extremely important for Microsoft to describe how Office 365 Home Premium will be offered when it debuts along with Office 2013 this fall.

Meanwhile, Microsoft also is preparing Microsoft Office 365 Open, a licensing model that allows channel partners to handle end-customer billing for Office 365 and its core components (Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online, etc.). Talkin' Cloud is checking to see if Office 365 Open will be available to manage Office 365 Home Premium sales from partners to end-customers.
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