Hotmail (with SkyDrive and Messenger) provides free email and collaboration services for 360 million people around the world. Over 30 million of them have tried out Office Web Apps in just the first six months they were available. Microsoft also offers Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync for millions of businesses and other organizations. And with today’s launch of Office 365 beta, businesses of all sizes can now easily use these products as an integrated suite of email and collaboration services, designed with the key management and administrative features they need.
In delivering these services, we’d like to provide a view of the differences between the communication tools that organizations want and what individuals are asking for. Office 365 is focused mainly on the needs of organizations. Hotmail, SkyDrive, and Messenger are focused on individuals. They're similar and work together – and yet are tailored for the unique needs of each.
We believe the important thing here is to listen to our customers and continue to evolve these services so that we’re delivering the right features for the right customers. Sometimes this means features from Hotmail will move into Office 365 and vice versa. By offering both Hotmail and Office 365, we get the opportunity to share a lot of code between the services, and learn a great deal from each other. This helps ensure that we can give customers the best solution – with two services designed to make personal and work life easier to manage.
If you have a business or influence IT decisions in your organization, we encourage you to visit http://office365.microsoft.com, join the beta, and provide feedback on Office 365.
Dharmesh Mehta Director, Windows Live Product Management
Collaboration capabilities in Office 365 are outstanding. No offense to Windows Live Team, it makes Live Groups look like childs play.
Outlook Web Access (OWA) is the one area that Office 365 could learn a thing or two from Live Hotmail. It doesn't have ActiveViews, nor the ability to move (optionally) a email file attachment to SharePoint folder and finally no Bing integration for clipart searches, etc.
For small home businesses consider Office 365, the difficult part will be considering how best to juggle work / personal digital life. I think many will find Live SkyDrive, Live Groups & Custom Domains to be a sufficient solution. And hopefully in Microsoft's mind, thats fine. I do wish Windows Live team made Custom Domains a bit easier to sign up for.