Right now, Microsoft’s new business subscription cloud service called Office 365 is in beta. You can sign up for a free test account right now and try it out. In this video we’ll take a look at what Office 365 offers and how it works with Windows Phone 7. Office 365 pricing plans will start at around $6 per user per month but you’ll get a lot for that price. It includes Exchange 2010, Office 2010 Web Apps, SharePoint 2010 for internal and external web collaboration and document sharing, and Lync 2010 for instant messaging, voice/video communications. That’s a full Exchange account too. It’s not limited to Exchange ActiveSync for mobile devices or a web interface. You can also log right into Outlook with that and everything will sync up. In the beta there’s even a little set-up tool that will set-up SharePoint links in the save dialogs for your Office programs as well as the Lync software and Outlook.
If you’re going to sign up for the beta for the specific reason of testing Windows Phone 7, be sure to read this first. Office 365 Beta Small Business accounts do not currently work with Windows Phone 7, however Office 365 Enterprise accounts do. It has been said in the support forums that the Small Business version of Office 365 will support Windows Phone 7 when it is finished, it’s just that the beta has the functionality disabled for some reason. So just sign up for the Enterprise account beta instead. If you plan to use it for actual work instead of just for testing, the word is that there will be a way for you to downgrade the payment plan to the Small Business account if that suits your needs better (but don’t quote me on that.)
Once you get an Enterprise Office 365 account going, setting it up on Windows Phone 7 is very easy. Obviously all you have to do with the Exchange account is log in with your email address and password to get push email, contacts, and calendar syncing. On the SharePoint side, go over to the Office hub, swipe over to the SharePoint section, tap the “Open URL” button and type in the URL of your account’s SharePoint site. It will probably be something like https://USERNAME.sharepoint.com. If all goes well, it will load a web based log-in page where you’ll enter your username and password and then your SharePoint Workspace will show up. From there you can access any files in document libraries and also read items in certain other libraries. You can’t access SharePoint calendars, nor picture libraries, but you can read link libraries and tasks. Unfortunately you can’t do any real editing of SharePoint content other than Office documents saved in document libraries.
Are you impressed with Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud services offering yet?