Microsoft Integration Work Paves Way For Office 365 Blitz

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Microsoft's Office 365 won't be ready until later this year. But the company is making sure that customers will have plenty of ways to access the cloud computing applications once they are generally available.

The next release of Windows Phone 7, code-named "Mango," will provide access to Office 365 applications, Microsoft executives said at the Microsoft TechEd 2011 conference in Atlanta this week.

And in a move that could speed solution providers' transition to cloud computing, Microsoft plans to integrate Office 365 with its Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials as part of an effort to boost Office 365 sales through the channel.

Robert Wahbe, corporate vice president of server tools marketing, unveiled the planned Windows Phone support for Office 365 during a keynote speech Monday. The announcement was part of Wahbe's larger message about Microsoft's focus on developing technologies for cloud computing and mobile devices.

"Over time, we think most of your workloads will run in the context of cloud computing," Wahbe told the 10,000 TechEd attendees. More immediately, he said, businesses will adopt cloud computing by developing extensions to existing applications and use it to handle workloads with large volumes of data or have high-performance computing requirements. And some specific applications, including content distribution and marketing campaigns, will migrate to the cloud more quickly.

"We are investing heavily in technology for all these scenarios," Wahbe said.

Mango, due out later this year, will let users of Windows Phone 7 devices access Office 365's capabilities, such as collaborating on documents through SharePoint Online and accessing file folders in Exchange Online.

The Windows Phone-Office 365 integration could provide a boost for the mobile operating system, with which Microsoft is trying to gain market traction against competitors Apple and Google. And providing easy access to Office 365 could increase demand for the cloud applications, which recently entered the public beta phase.

Next: Microsoft Seeks Channel Boost For Office 365 Through SBS Links

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