Yesterday we had our first Office 365 International User Group meeting of the year. This meeting happened to fall on the date that Microsoft released Office 2013 for consumers. The name that Microsoft choose for the “Home” version of Office 2013, “Office 365 Home Premium”, is a bit of a bone of contention with me a several others. We discussed this at the beginning of the meeting. The issue I have with the name is that it creates great confusion on what is actually the product being purchased. Really the Office 365 Home Premium is the ability to install Office 2013 on up to 5 devices for a yearly subscription price of $100. The confusion is with the TRUE Office 365 Cloud Based Services from Microsoft; Exchange, SharePoint and Lync online as well as the ability to install the latest Office Suite. The Home Premium version does not include any of the services and is just the Office 2013 suite with up to 20GB of SkyDrive storage. I really do understand what Microsoft direction is, subscription based software for consumers, but couldn’t they have choose CloudOffice, OfficeStream, etc and not invade on the Office 365 name?

Side Note, I sent an email to the Office 365 MVP community Distro List (we had a previous thread going on about our distain for the name and the confusion we see it causing. My email went something like this:

“Since we all like acronyms, instead of fighting with the Home Premium name, how about we rename the true Office 365 that we all know, support and advocate for: Microsoft Office Virtually Everywhere: MOVE to the Cloud!” What do you think? I like it, probably should trademark it!

So off my soap box and onto the meeting. In this blog post announcing Office 365 Home Premium (there’s that name again) Steve Ballmer states the real Office 365 for business on the new services will be available on February 27th. This means to me and most of the rest of everyone that Office 365 Wave 15 services based on the 2013 Server versions, Exchange, SharePoint and Lync Online, will go GA then. This is great news and falls right in line with what Microsoft has stated back in October/Novemberish that it would go GA (General Availability) in the first Quarter of 2013.

Brett Hill (@BrettHill) gave the group a good recap of the Office 365 Ignite + sessions he attended in Redmond last week. Some of the highlights I took from his recap is that Microsoft is looking to enable a DirSync version capable of syncing passwords from on-premises (via the Hash File, not the actual passwords) with Office 365 as well as other ways to get users accessing the services faster. He also talked about the synergy between Office 365 and the Office 2013 suite. Brett said while he found the information very informational he did miss the demos and labs of previous Ignite training sessions. Many thanks to Brett for giving us this recap.

I took the stage next and talked about how the Office 365 Wave 14 to Wave 15 Service Upgrade process will be done for existing Office 365 customers. A good overall resource for this is the Service Upgrade Center. I talked this in a previous blog post as well. The overall story about the Service Upgrade Process is it will involve minimal impact to the IT department and end users as well. This is done specifically to counter the BPOS to Office 365 Migration/Transition that many customers struggled with previously.

We ended up the meeting talking about various topics related to Office 365. I really appreciate the energy, questions and support I get from this group and the way everyone is very open to help out and assist others and truly support the community as a whole. For those Sports fans out there you may be aware of a show on ESPN called PTI (Pardon the Interruption) a fast paced show that jumps from topic to topic. Well at the end of each show the two host get “reprimanded” by a fact check on all the false and wrong statements, luckily for me we had no fact checker for the meeting as I messed up several times! Luckily the group members were there to ensure my false or incorrect statements were corrected!

Again I want to Thank all that attended the meeting and hope to see you all in next month’s meeting!