Tag: cloud

The New Outlook.com and the Microsoft Account PaymentHub

Outlook.com Logo

While checking my RSS feeds for the night, I ran across this article describing the new Outlook.com.  As an avid user of “Live for Domains“, I was interested to see where Microsoft was going after announcing the renaming of the “Windows Live” moniker back in May.

Outlook.com

It turns out, the UI is refreshing and seems to be a new front-end for what was Hotmail and Live Mail.  It is a refreshing, minimalistic UI with a lot of white space.   Users of the preview releases of Windows 8 will notice many UI and usability similarities.  I was expecting to get a ‘preview like’ experience but that has not been the case.  I have several domains I use and have linked together.  The authentication worked like a charm and I was able to jump around my three different accounts in Outlook.com without it reverting to the old Hotmail interface (send-as working as well).

 

Outlook.com - Service Ribbon

Then I went to check out the Contacts/People interface and the Calendar.  The Calendar never loaded in Chrome so I had to revert to IE.  The Contacts/People interface had the opposite problem; it loads in Chrome just fine but not IE 10.  The Contacts/People interface matches the new UI but the Calendar has yet to be upgraded.  I

‘m sure MS will sort out these issues fairly quickly as they have already surpassed 1 million usersin the new UI.Try it now.  All it takes is a visit to Outlook.com.

Microsoft Account and PaymentHub

This is just speculation but I can see this really fitting into subscription services for Microsoft Office, Xbox games, additional e-mail and SkyDrive storage, advanced features in future releases of WebApps and more.Some people have been reporting running in the new “Microsoft Account” when logging in but this hasn’t been my experience.  However, after the switch, I went into the Outlook.com options/settings and saw a new billing tab.  I also noticed I was now at https://account.live.com/.  The link redirected to https://commerce.microsoft.com/PaymentHub/.  It appears this will handle subscriptions down the road and also function on a point system similar to Xbox Live and Bing Rewards.  It also identifies my account as a ‘US – Personal Account’ leading me to believe they may be using the same billing system used with the preview release of Office365.

Screenshots

What’s Next

With the release of Windows 8, Server 2012, Exchange 2013, Surface Tablets, Office365 Next, Sharepoint 2013, Office 2013, advancements w/ Azure IaaS and more, it is an exciting time for Microsoft.

 

Office 365 Deployment Readiness Tool Beta Released

Office365 Migration Readiness Tool
Office365 Migration Readiness Tool

On Friday (May 6th), Microsoft released the Enterprise Beta Readiness Tool for Office365. As the name implies, this tool is meant to do a quick readiness check on your environment.  Upon execution, it will automatically extract the files to C:office365reskit and launch the app within IE. If you system has IE locked down, this may be problematic or at least require the acknowledgement of a few warnings. As it’s running, it collects information (be patient) from your organization’s network into its temp directory (c:office365reskittmp). The files within this directory are plain text and offer an interesting look into the environment. Unfortunately, once the test completes, the utility analyzes and consolidates these temp files and deletes the originating files, leaving a technical person with much to be desired.

 

The report is long and not filled with a whole lot of technical details. It gives basic information about your organization like sip domains, AD functionality levels, Exchange org, object counts and more. It then compares that to known requirements to measure your readiness to migrate to Office365 and gives a pass/fail grade in each category. For an organization looking at Office365, this info will give a good base to start a discovery process towards Office365 readiness.

My overall impression is the tool is a bit rough around the edges but a useful for quick discovery. The information can even be helpful for doing quick, limited Active Directory, Exchange and OCS/Lync discovery (although there are better tools for this job). Microsoft is showings its commitment to what will likely become a pretty aggressive push to business migration to their cloud offerings.