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Office 365 turns one, but success is tough to tally

Gregg Keizer | Feb. 3, 2014
Beware of misleading numbers, says one analyst; look at Office Web Apps' progress, argues another.

Microsoft did not recognize the one-year anniversary of Office 365 Wednesday, perhaps not surprising since it's been relatively low key about the subscription program's progress all along.

And the rent-not-buy model now faces its toughest test, said Miller. "The big metric will be the churn rate," he said, referring to how many new customers come in, how many existing ones leave or re-subscribe.

Whether Microsoft reveals the churn rate, or even hints at it in future disclosures of subscriber counts for Office 365, is another matter.

Webster, of IDC, believed that the lack of hard information on Office 365 for enterprises was due to the muddled origin of those subscriptions, with some coming from migrations from earlier programs — she mentioned "BPOS," or Business Productivity Online Suite," several times — some from companies switching simply from perpetual to subscription licensing, and the like.

Miller agreed up to a point, but added that the opaqueness of Office 365's performance was also likely due to Microsoft not having a compelling story to tell.


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