By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service (Miami Bureau) | Jul 9, 2012
Skeptics said Office 365 was arriving too late as a unifying and superior replacement to weaker and disjointed offerings like Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), Office Live Small Business (OLSB) and Live@edu.
Microsoft and its supporters countered that it was still early days in the cloud collaboration, productivity and communication market, and that Office 365 would tower over competitors like Google Apps.
One year later, it's hard to say whether Office 365 has been a success or a failure, and Microsoft isn't making the task easier.
"We're not breaking out customer, user, or revenue numbers at this time," a spokeswoman for the company said via email, when asked for concrete metrics about Office 365's sales and adoption. She reiterated the "momentum" statement Microsoft has made previously that Office 365 is "on track" to be one of the "fastest growing offers" ever for the company.
One thing seems clear: Office 365 hasn't blown competitors out of the water.
"It hasn't swept the market by storm," said IDC analyst Melissa Webster.
She expects Microsoft to release concrete data about Office 365 sales once the product makes significant revenue contributions.
"They'll give metrics when the metrics are meaningful, demonstrating scale and depth," she said.
Beyond its ability to dominate -- or not -- the market, Office 365's success will also be measured against other criteria.
For starters, Office 365, whose most common configuration includes online versions of Office, SharePoint, Lync and Exchange, must help Microsoft make inroads into the small-business segment.