Sunday, 5 June 2011

Microsoft to launch Office 365 on June 28, Rumor has Microsoft Announcing TV Service at E3

Microsoft is holding its official launch of its cloud-hosted application suite, known as Office 365, on June 28.

CEO Steve Ballmer will be on hand at the New York launch event, according to an invitation I received.

June 28 also may be the date when the Office 365 service becomes generally available. (I’ve asked Microsoft for confirmation on this. It looks like Office 365 general availability on June28th was confirmed by the head of the Microsoft partner organization, no less — thanks @tomwarren.) I’ve heard recently that Microsoft is planning to sign off on the final version of the service in early June — possibly even next week — and to make it generally available in late June.

Office 365 is Microsoft’s successor to its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), Live@Edu and Office Live Small Business products. Microsoft has begun educating its partners and customers about its BPOS-to-office 365 migration strategy. Packaging and pricing of the suite already has been announced.

Office 365 consists of Microsoft-hosted Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online, and also includes for customers who want it, a version of Office Professional Plus that can be installed locally on PCs and paid for per month, on a subscription basis. Office 365 competes head-to-head with Google Apps, and a handful of similar services.

Microsoft has experienced some BPOS service problems in the past month. The Office 365 version of the service is currently still being tweaked and is in beta.

Rumor has Microsoft Announcing TV Service at E3

I love the weekends before E3. I've worked four. You get everything in the tips jar—yesterday we got one that said Half-Life 2: Episode 3 would be a Wii 2 launch title. It was too earnest to be a troll.

Anyway, this one is in heavy circulation and Microsoft has issued a no comment, so let's go ahead and discuss: Microsoft will reveal an Xbox Live subscription TV service at E3 on Monday, or so the rumor goes.

WinRumors got the ball rolling on this one yesterday afternoon, citing unidentified sources familiar with the plans. But Xbox Live "Diamond," an IPTV service, has been chewed over by insiders for a few months. GameSpot notes that Reuters reported, six months ago, that Microsoft had designs of becoming a "virtual cable operator," through the Xbox 360. Of course, this would all come as an additional monthly fee atop Xbox Live Gold's $59.99 annual subscription.

WinRumors said Microsoft is still in the process of nailing down agreements, so certain demonstrations and details may be held back from the Monday presser. I suppose that means the whole thing could be held back, too, who knows. Asked for comment, Microsoft told GameSpot the usual no-comment on rumors and speculation.

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