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back to article Microsoft slashes Office 365 prices

Microsoft has taken an axe to Office 365 prices, cutting enterprise charges and giving special discounts to educational users, claiming "economies of scale" in the service. "With these efficiencies, we're able pass on savings to make it even more affordable for customers of all sizes to move to Office 365," claimed Kirk …

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Silver badge
Pint

Microsoft suffers from legacy & prejudice.

If you start off by making a bad impression then this will come to haunt you. Eventually you'll need to find ways to get rid of it again and once again try to appeal to people so that they may cast aside their prejudice and actually try your product once again. That will cost you time and money.

Unfortunately it appears as if MS never seems to learn from its mistakes. Once they do then I think they can save a /lot/ of money on marketing costs such as these and actually leave a positive impression once in a while which may even last some longer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft suffers from legacy & prejudice.

This is just drivel. These things might be issues in your mind but they are not issues for the majority of the normal population.

The fact that the service is offered by Microsoft is seen as a huge benefit by most senior IT people. Microsoft are trusted as one of the most able companies out there to run a service of this type. Sure they have some occasional issues, but this is new technology.

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"occasional issues" - LOL

From someone who's in the middle of migration to O-365 - "occasional issues" is not the way do describe it unless it really means "sh*&%^t doesn't work and moron support staff doesn't now how to lookup MX records". In my opinion: O-365 is the only thing worse than MS Exchange.

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Coat

Well obviously.

They had to drop the price this year, as there are more than 365 days, so it won't work for the full year.

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Holmes

Let me see now.

We have increasing competition in a rapidly changing market which in reality has only just begun to develop and is several/many years away from being mature and we see one of the major players cutting prices. Due to efficiencies they say - and that may well be the case, they have still been obliged to pass them on to the customer instead of pocketing them for themselves in order to keep up with/stay in a rapidly changing game. A highly competitive. young and somewhat unstable (rather like cloud systems in general now and then -:P) market with several players scrambling to position themselves leads to downward price pressure - who would have thought it, see icon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let me see now.

Supplier has lock-in? No. Supplier has reputation for quality in new products? No. Supplier has a lot of catching up to do, even in a new market? Yes. :-)

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Trollface

Scary track record, buggy product...

...so they HAD to make a cut but I don't think it will ever reach Google-like numbers. It's just simply too unreliable - MS online services (bPOS, gulp!) as usual.

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WTF?

Re: Scary track record, buggy product...

Neither Microsoft nor Google have published any numbers - so what basis d'you have for that assertion, other than assumption/fandroidism/Google apologism/pulling-out-the-assism?

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T J
Pint

LibreOffice

LibreOffice has won. And that's all there is to say really!

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Joke

Re: LibreOffice

You got the wrong icon - here's an appropriate one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: LibreOffice

When oh when will the freetards realise they have lost????

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FAIL

Re: LibreOffice

How is this relevant to a cloud offering? The reason you use a cloud solution has to do with improved collaboration and less client state to manage. It's not obvious how something modeled on a local, heavy client solution factors in (except to add extra commoditization pressure on full client office).

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Bronze badge
Coat

365?

They should rename it Office 180 to more accurately reflect its abysmal uptime.

180 is, coincidentally enough, also what most people do when they hear the words "Microsoft Cloud services".

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Stop

@Homer & @Levente - Evidence ?

I assume you're both paying Office 365 customers, and can provide statistics on how often the service has been unavailable to you ?

Quoting vague, third-hand rumours doesn't really count - unless you're a six year old in the playground.

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Thumb Up

Re: @Homer & @Levente - Evidence ?

Well, I'm an early adopter taking the 6 month free trial coming from OLSB. The transition was quite laboured but everything went across cleanly (there were some inconsistency in the instructions / video walkthroughs, but nothing a bit of lateral thinking couldn't sort out). I also have the Nokia Lumia 800 and the office365 integration is very well implemented. I'm very happy with the product and it does everything I want it too. There are extras bundled with the product that available at my disposal, which I will look into when I get more time to.

OH, and I haven't had any downtime whatsoever.....

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Re: @Homer & @Levente - Evidence ?

I can - at least 4 outages long enough for our still limited number of O-365 users to notice.

That's just past 6 months. At least 3 outages of 6 hours or more (i think one was multiple days - "networking issue:.

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Mushroom

"vague, third-hand rumours"?

LOL!

"Microsoft online services hit by major failure

Office 365 Microsoft's cloud computing suite Office 365 went offline briefly, along with Hotmail and Skydrive

Millions of Microsoft users were left unable to access some online services overnight because of a major service failure.

...

Its service also went offline briefly in mid-August, less than two months after it launched.

The latest disruption is believed to have lasted for around two-and-a-half hours, between 0300 GMT and 0530 GMT."

This "vague, third-hand rumour" is brought you by the BBC and ... Microsoft.

Please give Burson-Marsteller / Waggener Edstrom / Sweaty Ballmer my regards, and remember - don't spend all your Pay2Post money all at once, you'll need it to cover the cost of all that downtime you'll suffer on Vole's Office 180 service.

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Stop

"The internet is broken"

It's bad enough to be at work and the company internet goes down. The problem with cloud apps is that now if the net connection goes down you won't be able to do much at all!

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Go

Re: "The internet is broken"

It is easier and cheaper to have a backup 'net link of some kind than it is to buy and maintain all your own servers and infrastructure.

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Mushroom

Re: "The internet is broken"

Backup links are all very well but in reality how many businesses do that properly? Very large companies might but smaller companies I know have a domestic ADSL line or even just a mobile dongle. I personally wouldn't dream of using cloud software due to speed and reliability of connection where I am based.

And then what happens if something goes wrong at Microsoft? Or someone cuts a cable outside your office? Cloud is fine in theory but it's not the be all and end all.

The best I heard was when I complained to a download service I use for work that their servers were being very slow. "They can't go wrong" came the reply, "our website is hosted in the cloud". Doh!

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Incentive?

"offering massive discounts and audiences with Steve Ballmer himself to keep big clients"

I think NOT having an audience with Uncle Fester would me more helpful!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Incentive?

I really hope I'm not the only person that thinks that calling people insulting names based on their appearance is childish and unacceptable.

It's also bloody tedious.

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Stop

Re: Incentive?

@AC

You are quite right AC calling people insulting names based on their appearance is childish and unacceptable and an insult to the people involved, I am quite sure that Uncle Fester is also offended and disgusted at being called Steve Ballmer.

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Silver badge

Re: AC:13:00 Incentive?

I think the readers of El Reg know enough about Mr Balmer's behaviour and general character (as MS' boss) to know that there is a *much deeper* reason for my poking fun at him.

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Anonymous Coward

Cloud suckage

Our organisation has both Google apps in use, and Office 365 and the teams meet from time to time to point and laugh at each other's problems. I think it helps keep them sane...

I'm on the Google apps and they sucks in numerous ways and pi** me off by changing the UI for no good all reason, but its hard to tell if the grass is more brown and sticky on the other side as the MS users tell me.

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Re: Cloud suckage

Funnily enough I'd love to evaluate Google Apps but the gmail web interface is just so atrocious I can't bring myself to try it. The fact that I use it pretty much on a daily basis and still get confused as to where commonly used features hide themselves astounds me.

How a company with the resources of Google can unleash such a terrible UI on the general public amazes me. I wonder how seemingly intelligent people such as Larry Sergey can have been shown it and said "Yes, that's great, let's roll with it." It's up there in incomprehensibility with how Steve Ballmer, having been shown Vista, said "Yep, great stuff, get those DVDs duplicated and get it out to the channel!"

Anyway, rant over, is Google Apps any better? Is it worth me having a look or will I just end up slitting my wrists in despair?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cloud suckage

I can't really advise, as I don't know enough about MS' offering from hands-on experience to do so.

I use POP and IMAP access to Gmail, and that is fine (but use "recent:username@domain" instead of "username@domain" when configuring the POP log-in if you want to have more than one PC accessing your inbox).

The Gmail spam filter is pretty good, but it pays to check the web interface for things that are false positives.

Google docs are OK for light stuff, but don't expect any real support even when paying for it. However, judging by other comments here, that also applies to MS...

We went with Google as we had a pressing issue of retiring an ancient email server, and at the time it looked decent enough. The IT bosses kicked up a stink at our autonomous decision, but then they were not ready to do anything for over a year that could have helped.

The other parts of our organisation ultimately went with MS for various reasons, but one key factor was the ability of MS to promise (OK, not the same as delivering!) that all data would be held on EU-based servers to meet our requirements for holding sensitive data (e.g. medical trials).

Yes, I know that is a joke, but it keeps the PHBs happy and avoided the problems of the IT department having to find the proper money for an email server that could offer more than the pitiful 10MB or whatever used to be the typical inbox limit for the 10k or so users.

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FAIL

Craptastic support

I signed up for Office365 a month ago via the BCS just to evaluate it and Microsoft support have yet to get it working. Not least because they're playing that old trick of deliberately calling my home phone during working hours (despite numerous requests to do otherwise) so they can close the support ticket and blame it on me being out of contact.

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Re: Craptastic support

Second that - supports sucks. It took us months to finally get someone who understands the basics.

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Windows

Aren't their refunds based on cost of package?

Haven't they just had a major outage (8 hours) recently? Don't they refund their customers based on a percentage of cost of the service?

So by lowering the cost of the service plan they can now be liable for a much lower cost for the failure to deliver the contracted uptime....

They can sell this to try to attract more into the cloudy fold too (P.T. Barnum states that they will actually do this quite successfully)

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Anonymous Coward

Office 365 for corporate use ?

Our organisation won't use office 365 because of security concerns over sensitive documents, and the PATRIOT act ....

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Big Brother

Re: Office 365 for corporate use ?

That is one of the SERIOUS issues for any company or big organisation if you have sensitive information, and not just the blindingly obvious gov secret, but commercially or ethically like medical trials.

OK, everyone here *knows* that email is unencrypted and basically a postcard, but go for these office suites and *everything* is exposed.

Also the traditional company email server keeps all internal emails internal (wow!), so less of a problem than the lack of any real security might otherwise cause. But if you use a cloud service it all goes out to a US company at some point...

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Linux

They are only offering this to New and Returning customers. So, the customers that are loyal and paying full whack are not going to see any discount. $MS is simply trying to pull users in to their unloved service. I suspect they are not fairing to well against google docs.

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Bronze badge
Meh

Well, we're just thinking about moving over to 365 from a different hosted Exchange service that we've been with for quite a few years, and while it' not often been unavailable, it can be bloody slow.

Initial tests with 365 have been relatively promising on that front, and price cut will help grease the management wheels.

(current boss hates gApps so that was never going to be an option)

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IT Angle

Prices...?

You show some prices in a table but offer no explanation.

What are the products in the left-hand column? Are these prices per user? On what basis do they recur?

I would have happily found out for myself should a nice link have been provided...

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Anonymous Coward

That's not actually a table

It's not a table, it's a picture of a table.

I mean, what gives guys?

Does your standard HTML editor not do real (text, that can be meaningfully copied and pasted) tables, or what?

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irredeemably awful

Office 365 is "irredeemably awful" - it's just people moving from in-house exchange don't have much choice (or rather - don't have much expertise to move to something other than O-365).

We've been transitioning from in-house exchange to BPOS, to O-365 for a past year: the lack of basic expertise on the part of reseller AND MS support is epic! From non-working SPF validator to not knowing how to do nslookup. So - STAY AWAY FROM O-365!

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Anonymous Coward

re: BPOS

That just has to be Big Pile of Shit, tell me it's so. :-)

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Re: re: BPOS

"Business Productivity Online Standard" - believe it or not. Office 365's predecessor. Same sh^%$t, different wrappers.

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WTF?

Que?

So, I'm thrilled to announce that we're lowering the prices of most of our Office 365..."

This guy clearly doesn't understand business.

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Trollface

Re: Que?

This is already understood too well.

Reality

---> Marketing Spin.

"Not enough customers are signing up"

---> "We are able to offer a lower price because..."

"Our product is inferior to other 'more mature competitive' offerings

---> "We are able to offer a lower price because..."

"We are not able to perform to the SLA we promised."

--->"We are able to offer a lower price because..."

"We need more 'Gamma Testers' to vet our products."

---> "We are able to offer a lower price because..."

"We want to acquire a bigger slice of this market-share and are willing to sell at a loss to get it."

---> "We are able to offer a lower price because..."

"We don't want to pay for a 3rd party to thoroughly test the security of our products/services"

---> "We are able to offer a lower price because..."

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