Office 365 Personal: Microsoft is on a Roll

Microsoft has introduced Office 365 Personal something which they said they would do which makes the point of entry to the system very accessible. This is a very competitive price and I would say a good price for all that you get with Office 365. Microsoft said they would deliver and they have delivered.

Is Microsoft on a Roll?

First, Microsoft introduces Office for the iPad before they have it ready for their own Windows tablet. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, announces “mobile first, cloud first” as Microsoft’s strategy which was incredibly wise. Now Microsoft comes on very strong by delivering Office 365 Personal for $70 reducing dramatically the barrier to the point of entry to the system. In fact, this is an incredibly competitive price for all you get.

I would say Microsoft is definitely on a roll. They have shown themselves now to be open to the Mac platform as just a device that sits on the Office 365 system using those services.

Satya Nadella‘s “mobile first, cloud first” strategy is to say the least brilliant. Microsoft was slow to the embrace the cloud. They have not only embraced the cloud, they recognize the strategic importance of cloud computing in the future and are readying themselves to be a major player at this level.

The Cloud’s Strategic significance to Mobile and Computing in General

The cloud, although some people are dubious about their information sitting there, is probably one of the most significant elements in computing today. A vast majority of the applications that will be delivered in the next ten years and beyond will require the cloud for that to happen. The player or company that can leverage cloud services best will be extremely well positioned to provide backbone services.

Microsoft is the company to now watch. They’ve got the where with all, the technology, skills and capacity to deliver. Not many companies are in such an enviable position.

Microsoft had to Step back to Step Forward

For Microsoft to position themselves the way they have the had to step back before they could even begin to step forward. They desperately needed a new CEO with a vision and the understanding of technology. They have such a person.

For Microsoft to be successful with this strategy, many things had to occur one of the most significant of which is to let go of the end user device. Microsoft will still deliver Windows. But under this new framework it cannot take precedence over other platforms. To be the deliverer of cloud services all end user devices must be viewed equally.

The Mac Benefits

Finally and it is becoming clearer by the day, the Mac is not the enemy. Apple has won the device wars. Apple devices can be the perfect platforms to deliver advanced cloud based apps from Microsoft’s “mobile first, cloud first” strategy. Solid platforms are required to deliver these coming advanced applications.

To ensure though that it is Microsoft that the end user uses the entry point has to be priced right with the right level of services. Office 365 Personal is exactly such a package. With this package the user gets:

  • Unlimited upgrades to their software
  • Use on one computer and tablet
  • 60 minutes of Skype calling monthly
  • Onedrive 27 gigs

Win, Win

Apple has never payed much attention to the corporate market. They have not been overly successful at cloud computing although iCloud is a very good system.

Yet, Microsoft has spent years concentrating on the corporate market. Networking was their bailiwick. They certainly were successful at the device level through third party marketing of products such as Windows.

However, under their new strategy it can only work if all players are placed on a level playing ground. A user can now buy an iPhone or iPad or a Mac for that matter and easily connect into Microsoft’s cloud. Apple will benefit by selling well at the device level as there is no barrier to point of entry. With the device field made equal and the price point for entry made palatable, the Apple user can easily participate in a more advanced office systems architecture. BYOD or Bring Your own Device to work definitely now works in this scenario. Thus, Apple sells devices without impediment and Microsoft sells cloud services without impediment. The user and the companies are all winners as in this world Apple is an equal partner.

The Desktop remains Flawed

So far, so good. However, many will point out that the desktop remains flawed as Microsoft’s desktop software for the Mac is flawed. This is true. Microsoft though is working hard to make Office for the Mac 2014 a powerful application. Once this software more equally operates with its Windows counterpart then the impediment to entry for the Mac user is lessened yet another notch.

Why is Office 365 Personal so Important for the Mac or for that Matter Office 365 Itself

There’s more than one answer to this question. However, as I mentioned Apple was never a strong player in the delivery of robust cloud or networked applications. Microsoft was and is.

Second, it cannot be disputed that Office is the most powerful productivity package on the market. It goes beyond some users needs by a long shot and iWork would be better suited in this situation. Yet, for many a Mac user they complain that iWork is too dumbed down for their needs. This is probably true. It isn’t and hasn’t been designed to be an Office which has matured over 30 years. Some argue Office is bloatware. That’s possible yet it still cannot be beat for its power. Many a Mac user relies on the power of Office.

Thirdly, compatibility is critical. With over a billion users on Office you want your team on a compatible system. That is, you want your documents that will fly around the cloud compatible with where they end up.

Fourthly, Office is a defacto standard for office applications. It is best to work with a standard when it comes to sharing.

Finally, the delivery of the kind of applications we will see over the next number of years is going to require a lot of power both at the application level but primarily at the network level. Microsoft can deliver this kind of power. Google might be able to but it will be so chaotic a system a person wouldn’t know which way they’re coming or going. The delivery of advanced networking solutions requires a sound system plan. It requires a sound networking and cloud based system based on order and not disorder. Google has been successful but it is a hodgepodge of product and capability that one cannot predict its direction nor viability.

The Mac as Essential to the Solution

The Mac which includes everything in the ecosystem is one of the finest deployments of technology ever. As an end user tool, equipped with some of the most sophisticated applications built, it is a platform that can deliver in a reliable and sound fashion.

Reliability, predicability and soundness of architecture are critical to a cloud based delivery world of sophisticated applications. If you combine the best of both worlds; the sophisticated networks Microsoft knows how to architect, build and deploy and the insanely great products in the Mac ecosystem you’ve got a solid recipe for the delivery of great applications. These applications though have to be easy to use or people won’t use them. Yet, they have to run on incredibly powerful systems.

Apple products are considered intuitive and easy to use yet if you look at some of the applications they are incredibly powerful. That’s simply because the Apple architecture has been so refined and the products are as Steve Jobs said insanely great. OSX is probably the most sophisticated operating system ever. IOS 7 has been designed with the future in mind. It provides an easy and intuitive interface running on not as powerful an infrastructure as OSX but still a very powerful system.

Now Combine this with a Powerful Networking Infrastructure

Office 365 has been beautifully architected. As I’ve said many times, it is the most interesting product Microsoft has.

This networking architecture combined with Apple end user devices will deliver very advanced functionality and applications to the employee and employer within corporations and beyond.

Microsoft is on a Roll

Under Satya Nadella Microsoft is now on a roll. This is no longer Steve Ballmer’s boastful company founded on a lot of hot air. This is now a company, confident in their new found direction and not afraid to make the playing field level to companies such as Apple.

This is really a very exciting time. There will be many changes that some will have trouble with. Others will embrace the change and take advantage of applications only a few years ago we might have had trouble imagining.

I keep coming back to cloud based services such as Hailo as an example. Solely based on technology, through an easy to use app and a very powerful application a unique, user friendly but very solution has been enabled. Cabs just arrive having ordered them from your iPhone. You can watch in real time their arrival. No cash exchanges hands and you go from point A to point B in a fashion that somehow doesn’t feel exactly like your old fashioned cab company yet it is just modernized.

Microsoft has not only embraced this new reality but they are in fact leading the charge. Making Office for the iPad available and providing a grounded point of entry in Office 365 Personal they are demonstrating in real terms their commitment to take advantage and leverage these new capabilities that have emerged and are emerging. To state it clearly and answer the question is Microsoft on a roll the answer is most definitely yes.

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