To begin the Office 365 comparison, let's look at the features of the latest cloud package from Microsoft. With the increasing scope of cloud computing, Microsoft released Office 365 in late 2010, in addition to its other cloud computing services such as Office Live Workspace and Windows Azure. Many of you must already be using Google Docs for storing and sharing your documents online. This comparison of Office 365, details the features of the latest endeavor from Microsoft so that you can get an idea of how it fares when faced with the other cloud packages.
As of now, Office 365 is still in beta phase but seems that many businesses have registered for the benefits if we are to believe the several reviews on the Internet. This is because Office 365 contains a range of the online versions - Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync - in addition to the normal storing, editing, sharing, and collaboration capabilities of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
The most basic service one can access on Office 365 is checking emails. It will cost around $2 per user per month. For using the online Office package for uploading, sharing, and collaborating on documents, etc., one will need to pay $6 per person, per month. There is no limit for storage, so any number of files can be uploaded - meaning Office 365 can also be used as a backup. However, there is no FTP facility available and you have to use the normal GUI of Office 365 to upload files. The FTP facility is seldom present in cloud computing packages that offer online file sharing services. The remote backup services may offer the facility as they focus basically on backup, while Office 365, Office Live Workspace, and Google Docs all focus on sharing and real-time collaboration of files.
Combining Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Plus with Office 365 offers you even more flexibility when it comes to sharing, collaboration, meetings, and online editing of files. If you wish to use the feature, you will pay $24 per person. The rate is nominal when you realize the ease of producing, uploading, sharing, collaborating, and editing your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. You can also access you email/calendars/documents from any corner of the world and from any device that has a local copy of Office 2010 Professional Plus with an Internet connection.
Screenshot by author courtesy of Microsoft Office 365 website.