There has been quite a bit of confusion around the support of Blackberries and Microsoft Exchange Online. We’re going to try to clarify the situation here!
BPOS Exchange Online, the service that Microsoft has been selling and supporting since 2008, provides free BES service. Microsoft does this by hosting a BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server).
Office 365 will NOT include BES support until early 2012 or so. This is because the plan is to use RIM’s online BES service that is currently being tested and is expected to be available in early 2012 (rather than Microsoft hosting a BES).
So if you want to use Exchange Online and need BES service, be aware that you must sign up for Exchange Online and the BES service during June 2011 – we expect Office 365 will be generally available toward the end of June, and once Office 365 is generally available BPOS Exchange Online will not be offered to new accounts. (Generally available just means sold as a standard service, no longer in the testing period.)
BlackBerry users can use BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) with Exchange Online and Office 365 if they only need email. This service is free but will not sync contacts, calendar, tasks, etc.
If you are currently using BPOS Exchange Online and think there is ANY POSSIBILITY that you may want to add and BES users you should purchase one seat (cost = $0) right now. You will then be able to add users any time later. But, if you do not have any BES accounts you won’t be able to add them once Office 365 is generally available.
Questions? Call or email Ellen Jennings at 703-528-8300 x125 or email@example.com.
Microsoft’s Online Services offerings are evolving over the next several months. Here are some key points to consider:
- BPOS, the current suite of services, will be sold to new clients through early June.
- Office 365, the new suite of services, is currently in “Extended Beta Testing” and will be released for general availability in early June
- Current BPOS clients will be able to transition to Office 365 later this year. Exchange Online “Only” (meaning no other services besides Exchange) will be the first group to make the move. More information about timing and transition plans will be available later this year.
- If you must use Outlook 2003 and you want to use Microsoft Online Services remember that Outlook 2003 will NOT be supported under Office 365. So you either need to upgrade Outlook to 2007/2010 or adopt/stay on BPOS until you are ready to upgrade Outlook.
- If you are using or want to use Microsoft’s BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server) with Exchange Online then you should adopt/stay on BPOS until early 2012 when RIM’s online BES offering will be available.
If you’d like to talk over your Microsoft Online plans or options please contact Ellen Jennings (firstname.lastname@example.org), 703-528-8300 x125.
There is a lot of noise in the marketplace these days about “cloud” computing and how it is going to revolutionize the way businesses manage their information technology assets. One of the first areas we have seen this happening is with online services such as those involving email and collaboration. In fact, many of our clients are pioneers of cloud computing by virtue of their using the FrontBridge hosted email anti-spam service starting as far back as 2005. Of course the online services available today are much deeper and more robust than six years ago. And as with most products in the IT world these services involve the licensing of a vendor’s software. The following is a description of how Microsoft licenses its online services.
Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services (MEHS)
This is Microsoft’s suite of online services that protect inbound and outbound email from spam, viruses, phishing scams and e-mail policy violations and provide email retention and encryption. These services are Forefront Online Protection for Exchange, Exchange Online Archiving and Exchange Hosted Encryption. These services evolved from the FrontBridge service, which was purchased by Microsoft several years ago.
MEHS is sold under Microsoft’s Volume Licensing, Open Value Program. This program provides a 3-year license having three annual payments based on the licensing organization’s total number of mailboxes to be protected, archived and/or encrypted. There is no option to license this on a month-to-month basis.
Microsoft Business Productivity Services
This is the suite of online email and collaboration services that include Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting and Office Communications Online. These services can be obtained individually or as the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS). Later in 2011, Microsoft’s Office 365 will replace and enhance BPOS by including Microsoft Office from the cloud.
These online services are sold under the Microsoft Online Subscription Program. This license program has a 12-month initial term (including an initial 30-day free trial) followed by a month-to-month subscription. These services are also priced based on the total number of users across the licensing organization.
Microsoft just announced that BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) service is now free for Exchange Online customers – current BES subscribers and new. This is great news and there are a couple of key items to note:
- You need to login into the Microsoft Online Customer Portal and “purchase” the Hosted Blackberry Service offering (price will be $0.) You should have received directions to do this; if you did not please contact us – you have until June 30 to take care of this.
- Hosted BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) service will not be available in Office 365 until late 2011/early 2012. So, if you are using BPOS with Hosted BES you cannot make the change to Office 365 until the new service is active with Office 365.
If you have any questions about this please contact Ellen Jennings, email@example.com, 703-528-8300 x125.
Get up to $1,500 back when you sign up for Microsoft Online Services! From now through April 1 Microsoft will reimburse you for 50% of your first year’s annual subscription fee. This money comes as a Partner Subsidy Fee – which means that you can use to for any BEI services including consulting, email migration, SharePoint setup and much more.
The details – you get 50% of the first year’s annual subscription fee, for up to 25 seats. So 25 seats of BPOS is $3,000/year and you would received $1,500 in Partner Subsidy Fees. 25 seats of Exchange Online is $1,500/year, so you would receive $750 in Partner Subsidy Fees.
Maybe you’re not sure whether you want to purchase BPOS* or Office 365**? Give us a call and we’d be glad to walk you through the pros and cons of adopting now or waiting as well as talk to you about the schedule for rolling out Office 365.For details on this offer click here and then select “Special Offers” and then “Microsoft Online Services.”
*BPOS is Microsoft’s current online services offering that includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting and Office Communications Online. BEI has been selling and supporting all the BPOS offerings since September 2008, so we have lots of clients (about 50 organizations) depending on BPOS to run their business.
**Office 365 is Microsoft’s next generation version of BPOS. BPOS users will be able to upgrade to Office 365 easily at at no additional cost..
This case study looks at Microsoft Gold Partner Business Engineering Inc. (BEI) and its move to build an Online Services practice centered on Microsoft Office 365. BEI is a successful IT solution provider offering network design, installation, and services as well as managed service expertise to companies throughout the national capital region. Recognizing the cost savings and simplicity offered by cloud-based solutions, BEI began offering clients a third party–hosted version of Email Filtering in 2004; thus, BEI’s involvement in cloud-based Exchange predates the launch of Office 365. As companies look for cost-effective solutions and simpler IT models, BEI is helping businesses find answers in a changing technology landscape.
Ellen Jennings, CEO of BEI, is quoted: “I think we have been successfulbecause we really don’t care if ourprospects select BPOS or Exchangeon‐premise — we just want them toend up with the best solution for their business. If we help them do that, the service revenue will come.”
IDC Study: Profle of a Microsoft Online Services Practice (BEI)
This past Tuesday Microsoft announced Office 365, a new product offering and brand that Microsoft’s BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) is transitioning to over the next year. Lots more information can be found here and this Fact Sheet is a good summary.
Current BPOS Users – no change for now. Office 365 will be generally available starting in March/April 2011 and transitions from BPOS to Office 365 are expected to start in June 2011. You will have up to a year from that point to make the transition (so everyone should be moved over by June 2012.) Once you do make the transition you must have Outlook 2007 or 2010 – Outlook 2003 will no longer be supported. As always, remember that these are planning dates and may change as we get closer to product release.
The most dramatic addition to the BPOS suite of products is Office Web Apps (think: Google Apps on steroids) and the option to license Office Professional Plus on a monthly basis. Office 365 will come in a variety of flavors to meet the needs of a wide variety of businesses – some examples include:
- Office 365 for small businesses – Exchange Online (email), SharePoint, IM, Online Meetings, Office Web Apps, Community-based support (this means no phone support), $6/user/month
- Office 365 Kiosk – Web-based email, Office Web Apps, SharePoint (read-only), $2/user/month
- Office 365 for Enterprises (current BPOS customers) – Exchange Online (email), SharePoint, IM, Online Meetings, View documents using Office Web Apps, 24/7 IT-level phone support, Single sign on with Active Directory integration – $10/user/month
- Office 365 for Enterprises with Office Desktop Software – all of the above plus Office Professional Plus desktop software – $24/user/month
Pricing for current BPOS and Exchange Online users will stay the same as far as we can tell. We’ll update you with more information as it is available – please feel free to email or call with questions in the meantime. Ellen Jennings, firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-528-8300 x125.
In the past, Blackberry Support in Exchange Online has meant paper forms, phone calls and time lags. Now – this can all be done online via the MOAC (Microsoft Online Services Administration Center). If you’re using Exchange Online and have Blackberry uses you’d like to add, let us know and we’d be glad to help. Background – BPOS is Business Productivity Online Suite, which includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Live Meeting Online and Office Communications Online all for $10/user/month. Click here for more information.
We’ve run several webinars on Microsoft Online Services. This is a great chance to check out the suite and learn about how it might be useful in your environment.