Summary: The fact that work is becoming increasingly social has not been lost on Microsoft. It's not just the small stuff-such as the integration of Facebook and LinkedIn-but the way it has designed collaboration tools with SharePoints and Sites that points to the way teams will work together in the future.
Pros: Clean interface, Enhanced sharing features, Integrates with Facebook and LinkedIn, SharePoints adds useful collaboration tools
Cons: Separate screen to save and share documents is jarring, Not as touch-friendly as we'd like, Can't view others' edits in real-time, Separate Desktop and Modern versions of same app
Conclusion: A subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium lets you install a full copy of Office 2013 on up to five devices and also lets any Windows 7 or 8 machine temporarily download Word, Excel, or the other Office apps for use on other machines. Office 2013 looks better than Office 2010 and includes new convenience features, with a minimal learning curve for existing users.
Pros: Designed from the ground up for cloud-based storage and collaboration. Clear, up-to-date interface. Subtle improvements throughout. Unmatched power for editing, viewing, sharing. Single license allows use on five machines, including Macs (which get Office 2011 for the Mac).
Summary: Microsoft Office 365 is certainly more powerful than its chief competitor, Google Apps, but more difficult and confusing to use as well. And Office 365 would likely be overkill for some businesses, especially smaller ones. Still, for companies that need all of its power and are willing to put up with sometimes frustrating navigation and a potentially long learning curve, it can be a worthwhile productivity-booster and money-saver.
Conclusion: As expected there were glitches in the Office 365 beta, some operational, like those with Lync 2010 Online discussed above, and some due to ill-designed transitioning between web pages. It was easy to set up users, access and use the SharePoint portal team site, and upload and share documents using Office Web Apps. A big question is how many firms are using Office 2003 and see any need to upgrade to a cloud-based version?