By now you've seen the announcements.
Microsoft Announces Office 365 – PressPass
Microsoft Office 365 Bets on the Cloud

Office as a hosted service. Pretty big announcement. And there's another part to this too – namely that Microsoft ALSO announced they'll offer SharePoint as a hosted service. Same with Exchange 2010. And *drumroll*…Lync Server 2010.

Now, we already offer cloud versions of OCS and Exchange from our office. We'll have a Hosted Lync Server as well, very soon. (And our version will offer full enterprise VoIP – I'm not sure Lync Online will do that!)

But I'm actually happy about this announcement.

Why? Why would I be happy about Microsoft beginning their own cloud versions – when we, one of their partners, already have them available? (Images of Goliath's foot heading for David's head here…)

I'm happy because of classic old supply and demand.

Is OCS Too Expensive?

In a recent Osterman Research survey, it was found that OCS is perceived as too expensive for some organizations (

Despite high adoption rates, the up-front cost is still a big obstacle. So is lack of a business case. When OCS started out, the concepts of “Unified Communications” and “VoIP for everyone in the office” were still new. OCS had to sell them.

Now thanks to time and Lync Server, the need for selling may be diminishing. And demand growing.

Turns Out Lync Server is More Capable AND Affordable

Over half of the survey's respondents said that Lync Server's less stringent requirements (and its ability to run happily on virtual servers) makes it more appealing to them. (I'm sure the fact that more people understand Unified Communications and VoIP plays into this too.)

This is great news for Lync! And it demonstrates why Microsoft's cloud move is a viable (and timely) option for businesses.

More Interest in Lync = Good for All

Going back to the original point, we can see that Microsoft is responding to market demand. A faster, more capable communications solution with lighter physical requirements. And now a cloud option. (And a partner with a similar cloud option!)

The demand IS there.

That's why I'm happy.

It means more interest in hosted Lync overall. More cloud-based Lync Server setups for us. Lower costs for businesses to add enterprise VoIP and conferencing.

And more support needed from us, but that”s another thing…

Your thoughts? Are you considering Office 365,or the other cloud services? Why? No really,I'm curious.

What does a Cloud Version of Lync Server (Hosted by Microsoft) Mean for the Market?
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