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Verizon Woos Small Biz with Microsoft Office 365

Verizon Woos Small Biz with Microsoft Office 365
By Jennifer LeClaire

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"For Microsoft, it raises the visibility of Office 365 and makes it appear more popular," said analyst Rob Enderle. "But Microsoft is the entrenched vendor anyway with regard to productivity suites and e-mail. I think this is a stronger play for Verizon. This makes Verizon Wireless more of a small-business solutions provider."
 



In a move that gives Microsoft mobile momentum, Verizon Wireless just announced new additions to its mobile portfolio tools for small-business customers. Verizon is making Microsoft Office 365 available to its smartphone masses.

Microsoft Office 365 is now part of Verizon Wireless' Small Business Essentials portfolio. Office 365 is a cloud productivity service that includes e-mail, instant messages with presence, video and voice conferencing, and document sharing. By offering Office 365, Verizon Wireless aims to help small business customers drive more productivity on the run.

"Our small businesses and entrepreneurs consistently rank two priorities the highest when it comes to using productivity tools to run their business: simplicity and cost effectiveness," said Michael Schaefer, executive director of Wireless Business Solutions at Verizon Wireless. "We included Office 365 with Small Business Essentials to address these needs."

No Free Ticket

Office 365, which supports mobile operating systems including Windows Phone, Android, iOS and BlackBerry, aims to help small businesses collaborate with customers, co-workers and employees in real time while having access to e-mail, contacts, calendars and other business data. With Office 365, users can sync information across all devices including smartphones, tablets, PCs or Macs.

Of course, Office 365 isn't free just because you use Verizon Wireless. small-business customers will have to subscribe to the service. Users can tap into a free trial or subscribe to the small-business version for $6 per user per month. Mid-size businesses and enterprises pay $8 and $20 a month, respectively.

With the small-business version, Microsoft promises users can view and make light edits to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents within supported browsers, and view business documents in the browser with virtually no data or formatting loss during transfer between PC and browser.

Small-business subscribers can also use SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online. With Lync Online, rich presence tells users when co-workers are online and available. It also allows mobile users to feature online meetings and presentations with up to 50 attendees, using PC-audio, video conferencing, desktop and application sharing.

Is AT&T Next?

"For Microsoft it raises the visibility of Office 365 and makes it appear more popular. But Microsoft is the entrenched vendor anyway with regard to productivity suites and e-mail," Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told us. "I think this is astronger play for Verizon. This makes Verizon Wireless more of a small-business solutions provider and gets consumers to look at them differently."

Enderle said Verizon Wireless adding Office 365 to its Small Business Essentials portfolio puts Verizon at a step above the other carriers in terms of providing a fully featured service suite. He expects AT&T to follow, with Sprint and T-Mobile potentially seeking the same path in the future.

Verizon has also accounted for security with the launch. If a user's device is lost, damaged or stolen, the data can be locked and wiped clean remotely, helping to protect the small business' proprietary information. When the replacement device is activated and connected to Office 365, all of the user's email, contacts and calendar data will be available on the new device.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

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Charlie:

Posted: 2012-08-08 @ 3:40pm PT
Sprint is already offering this product. They did it before Verizon and have been selling O365 since last week. Sounds like the writer did not do any research before writing this article.



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