Try SharePoint 2010 in Microsoft’s Cloud for free

Starting today, anyone can request access to Microsoft’s Office 365 Beta tools in cloud. According to the FAQ, everyone who requests access will get it, but there may be a delay based on the expected amount of requests that will come in. All of the services, which include a watered down version of SharePoint Server 2010, will be available for free during the beta period and then transitioned to a 30 day trial at the release date, anticipated sometime this summer.

Office 365 is hot. As you can see from the references below, all of the mainstream technical publications are writing about the product and how it applies to your business. If you are in IT and want some strategies for how to approach this with your management who will be asking you about it sooner or later if they haven’t already, I recommend reading Will Office 365 Get You Fired? Barb Mosher does a great job showcasing what is available in the public beta.

I received my invite a little early last week and have set up the services. To give you an idea of what you can do in 5 minutes with the public site templates, take a look at the first screenshot and click through to play with it live at The second screenshot is my private SharePoint front page. You can click to zoom in. I didn’t screenshot it, but one thing I was very impressed by was the Office Web Apps functionality. For a low cost, monthly rental, I’m amazed at all you get in this service. I’d probably pay $6/month just for a private Office Web App and SharePoint intranet, not to mention hosted Exchange and private video conferencing and desktop sharing through Lync.

Office 365 represents a huge improvement over Microsoft’s previous SharePoint Online Efforts. The login process alone is many times better and that is very important when it was so hard to use in the BPOS.

Figure 1: on Office 365’s public website template engine powered by SharePoint Server 2010

Figure 2: You can see I’ve added a picture and created one Word document in the browser on this front page. The links to the Outlook Web Access and my Office 365 Home page are also visible at the top.


  1. Bummer. When i try to go to (at least on my iPhone), I’m prompted for credentials.


  2. Marc,

    I think you may have found a bug. Do you know where to submit them? I submitted a service ticket to see if they can fix it.

    I think you’ve found the standard, SharePoint 2010 mobile redirect to an authenticated page issue. They should have fixed that.



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