Risky Office365 Update to Take 10 Months

According to reports on ZDnet, Microsoft will begin rolling out updates to Office 365 as early as this month.  The addition of new features will take 10 months, and should be completed by November 2013.

Included in the update:

  • Office 2013 Components
  • Updates to the Exchange Management Console
  • Office Web Apps will move to the latest versions
  • Lync will include multi-person video conferencing

For many users, however, they will need to upgrade desktops and on-premise servers.  An update to Exchange is needed to use the new management console features and the Office 2013 components require Windows 7 or Windows 8 on the desktop.

This upgrade is a test for Microsoft and its customers, triggering a series of webinars and meetings between Microsoft and its partners.  Under the prior BPOS service, Microsoft never provided an upgrade.  Rather, customers had to start over with Office365. With this upgrade, Microsoft is testing its ability to perform the same system upgrades its customers want to avoid on a massive, multi-tenant scale.

In comparison, Google rolled out Hangouts and Hangouts on Air to Google Apps for Business customers over a 3 week period with zero customer disruption.  The difference is that Google Apps is designed for innovation and enhancement.  The underlying architecture of Office365 relies on old models of complex, periodic service packs and upgrades applied to virtual servers on shared hardware.

An outdated architecture and higher costs of ownership and use — a winning combination for your business?