Microsoft Touts Businesses' Cloud Use, Office 365 Adoption

Most businesses will turn to the cloud over the next two years, according to the findings of a Microsoft-backed study.

Microsoft on Wednesday disclosed some of the results of the study, "The New Era of Hosted Services," which was conducted by 451 Research. While the study was commissioned by Microsoft, the full report doesn't appear to be publicly available. 451 Research surveyed "more than 1,500 customers" this spring for the analysis. The study's sample included respondents from organizations of various sizes across 10 countries, including the "United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, Japan, China, India, Australia and Brazil."

The majority (68 percent) of the respondents said that they planned to adopt hybrid cloud models over the next two years. More than half (52 percent) of respondents indicated that tapping the cloud would be beneficial, either in terms of facilitating organizational growth or initiating new business strategies.

It also appears from Microsoft's press release announcing the study that some organizations are looking to access complete solutions from cloud service providers.

"The study clearly shows a strong customer preference for full-service hosting solutions over the next two years, with substantial investment increases in security services, database, shared servers, backup and recovery, and managed hosted desktop," said Michelle Bailey, vice president for datacenter initiatives and digital infrastructure at 451 Research, in a released statement.

Microsoft appears to be positioning its service provider partners to address this perceived demand. The company claims to have increased the number of its new hosting partners by 4,500 partners in a year's time.

Microsoft also on Wednesday touted the success of its cloud approach with Office 365 productivity suites sold to consumers. Office 365 Home Premium edition, which is marketed toward consumer users and sold on a subscription basis, was adopted by 1 million subscribers in 3.5 months' time.

In a blog post, Microsoft charted that progress against the adoption rate of other consumer services to declare that its Office 365 Home Premium is "a hit."

The early proclamation of success is perhaps surprising because Office 365 Home Premium users must pay either monthly or annually to use the software. If they don't renew their subscriptions, then they lose the rights to edit the files that they created or to create new documents.

This subscription basis for selling Office 365 was first unveiled by Microsoft in September 2012. Previously, Microsoft sold Office to consumers only under the traditional perpetual-license model, which let them use the software in perpetuity. Now, users have the option to either subscribe to use Office via Microsoft's Office 365 services or they can purchase Office 2013 via the perpetual-license option.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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