Microsoft Office 365 however is the opposite of a locally installed client. It is the new version of Microsoft's current Online (Cloud) offering called Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).
So what are the differences you might ask? Read below for a comparison of the two composed by Aaron Leskiw.
How does Office 365 compare to BPOS?Microsoft describes Office 365 as a “significantly enhanced” version of BPOS. Although it’s basically the same service, as you’ve seen, it includes new features like Office Web Apps. And, it also has enhancements to make administration easier.
On the desktop side of things, Office 365 includes the new Service Connector application, replacing the single sign-on tool. The Service Connector should make user desktop management a little easier, and simplify the login process for users. The Service Connector also takes care of patches and updates.
Speaking of the desktop, system requirements have changed. Office 2003 will no longer be supported, and neither will Office Communicator 2007. Workstations will need to run Office 2007 or newer, and the new Lync 2010 software for instant messaging.
Office 365 is scheduled for availability in 2011. If you’re currently a BPOS customer, then you’ll have 12 months to migrate to Office 365 from the time the service becomes available. For more information, check out the Office 365 transition center, where Microsoft has done a great job at providing information for admins, including a helpful transition checklist. There's also a helpful FAQ.
With the release of Office 365, Microsoft has really stepped-up the game for hosted-cloud services. Time will tell how successful this play will be, but recent big wins have demonstrated that they are definitely a player. If Office 365 looks like something you want to learn more about, you can get more information on the Microsoft Office 365 home page.
Or, download the Office 365 fact sheet for full details on the different Office 365 offerings.