Microsoft COO Signals Countdown to Office 365 Cloud Launch

April 29, 2011

2 Min Read
Microsoft COO Signals Countdown to Office 365 Cloud Launch

By samdizzy

When Microsoft reported quarterly earnings yesterday, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner came prepared to talk about cloud computing and Microsoft’s immediate future — which involves Office 365.

Take a close look at Microsoft’s earnings, and the company’s server and tools revenues continue to grow nicely — up 11 percent in Q3 2011 vs. Q3 2010. But again, Turner shifted the discussion to the approaching Office 365 rollout. In a prepared statement he said:

“We delivered strong third quarter revenue from our business customers, driven by outstanding performance from Windows Server, SQL database, SharePoint, Exchange, Lync and increasingly our cloud services. Office had another huge quarter, again exceeding everyone’s expectations, and the addition of Office 365 will make our cloud productivity solutions even more compelling. We continue to see strong adoption of our cloud-based services among the Fortune 500.”

Big Bet

No doubt, Office 365 is the most important product and brand launch since Windows 7’s debut. But Office 365 is far more than that. The cloud suite bundles Microsoft’s business applications — Office, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and Exchange Online — into a SaaS suite. In short, Office 365 will make or break Microsoft’s SaaS strategy.

I expect Office 365 to officially debut in July 2011, but sources say it may arrive sooner. In recent weeks Microsoft has:

I suspect Microsoft will wrap up the Microsoft Office 365 beta test and officially debut the SaaS suite in time for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (July 10-14, Los Angeles).

In the meantime, Microsoft is working hard to onboard Office 365 channel partners. The software company must also win over potential partners that want to control end-customer cloud billing, a capability that Microsoft has so far declined to offer.

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