Microsoft Upping the Pace on Office 365 Features and Product Launches

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Since the time Microsoft announced its ‘Mobile First, Cloud First’ strategy, the company has relentlessly been pushing the boundaries in the enterprise collaboration software market, with Office 365 in the lead.

In a way, Microsoft showed the world that there are billions of dollars to be made in the office collaboration and productivity business, which is why it comes as no surprise that other tech majors like Google and even Amazon are following suit with their own offerings.

For example, at its recent Google Cloud Next event, the company announced a slew of new features and upgraded functionality within G Suite – its own enterprise productivity and collaboration portfolio of cloud-based applications, or SaaS.

Even e-commerce giant Amazon has seen massive potential in this market, and has been quietly working on its own enterprise productivity and collaboration SaaS applications, like Amazon Chime, Workmail and Workdocs.

Being a market leader in the space, however, it’s Microsoft that everyone is watching. As the entire world and the media keep their focus on Microsoft Azure and Windows, Microsoft incessantly keeps adding functionality after functionality to Office 365.

Here’s a quick look at some of the things they’ve done in recent months, in reverse chronological order starting from the latest move:

March 2, 2017: Microsoft integrates Yammer, the enterprise social networking service, with Office 365 Groups.

January 2017: Microsoft launches StaffHub, a new application for Office 365 designed to help staff workers manage their workday—with schedule management, information sharing and the ability to connect to other work-related apps and resources.”

November 2016: Microsoft announces the availability of Office 365 in ten new markets: “Bhutan, Cambodia, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Laos, Maldives, Martinique, Mozambique, Myanmar and Vatican City. With this launch, Office 365 is now available in 150 markets and 44 languages.”

November 2016: Launches Microsoft Teams, a new chat-based workspace in Office 365. “Microsoft Teams supports not only persistent but also threaded chats to keep everyone engaged. Team conversations are, by default, visible to the entire team, but there is also the ability for private discussions. Skype is deeply integrated, so teams can participate in voice and video conferences. And everyone can add personality to their digital workspace with emojis, stickers, GIFs and custom memes to make it their own.”

September 2016: Microsoft updates Office 365 App Launcher. At the time of launch Microsoft said that the new version will “provide improved discoverability to new and recently used apps, additional customization options and search across all the services and applications you use in the Microsoft Cloud.”

From the timeline, it’s clear that Microsoft has stepped up the pace on feature and product additions. Now that Google is stepping up to the plate and Amazon is eying the space as well, it’s good to know that Microsoft is taking a proactive approach rather than wait for someone to overtake them.

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