Microsoft might be struggling to make a good impression with its Windows RT platform, but thankfully for the company, its Office 365 service is much easier to brag about. Office 365 has now been available for 2 years, and given the worldwide usage for Office in general is about 1 billion, Microsoft takes its duties with moving us to the cloud extremely seriously. A common complaint about cloud services is that reliability can be a problem, and that's one issue in particular Microsoft doesn't want its name hovering around.
The Holy Grail achievement for any online service provider is to be able to offer 99.9% uptime, and Microsoft accomplished that quite easily across the last four quarters. Starting in July 2012, quarterly uptimes were 99.98%, 99.97%, 99.94% and 99.97%. These numbers encompass three of Microsoft's target markets: education, business and government - not consumer (for some reason).
I fall into the consumer pack, and have been using Office 365 in the home for about three months. So far, I have to admit that I'm really impressed with the service, and surprised by how easy Microsoft has designed it. Even on my awful Internet connection (5Mbit/s), I can have a fully-functioning Office install in about 15 minutes, which if I recall isn't too much longer than it took me to install Office 2010 Home & Business.
What I like most about Office 365 is the ease of installing the suite to a new PC and deactivating an install. Installing is as simple as going to Office.com, signing in, and then going to the "Install Office" section (the first time requires the product code to be entered). If the target PC will be reformatted or given away, you can simply log back in here and deactivate that particular install. I admit to loving this design so much that I wish more cloud companies would have an implementation like this.
As just one person, I can't be the judge of how reliable Microsoft's service is for consumers, but I've installed the suite about 8 different times, and haven't had an issue either with the service being down, or me being unable to deactivate old installs. So far, my experience has been extremely good. For those who might end up going more than 30 days without Internet, however, your experience would not be quite as solid.
For those who are interested in getting into the nitty gritty about Microsoft's commitment to its Office infrastructure and uptime, I recommend hitting up the link below.
"Claims" is the key word. How they figure the %uptime must be complex indeed. We just came off of a 2-3 hour outage this past Thursday. The only real advantage of the cloud is the fact that we can be rid of this nightmare of administration that MS call's Exchange.
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