As promised by Microsoft the public beta of the Office 15 (now known as “2013”) stack has been made available. While all desktop and server products received newer version numbers by way of the release year 2013, the name for Office 365 remains unchanged.

Why is this the case? Because moving between the current version of Office 365 to the new version is seen as a major service release, as opposed to a traditional upgrade (like we saw with the BPOS -> Office 365 transition).

So while most blogs and news sites focus on the desktop products and the Metro interface – I want to focus on some key functionalities. Today I’ll just be talking about some of the key functionality improvements/changes and expanding on those down the track.

Some things to call out:

– Metro interface (surprise!)

– FOPE console is integrated into the main Exchange Online Control Panel (ECP)

– There are now two types of resource mailboxes: room & equipment

– Shared mailboxes can be created via the ECP

– Public folders make a return! (more to come on that one)

– Active Directory Rights Management is baked into the core

– Free/Busy sharing with external organisations and users can be controlled via ECP (no more PowerShell)

– Lync Online supports organisational based customisations (eg. logo, help & legal information, footer text)

– Office on Demand integrated with SharePoint Online – stream applications!

– SharePoint Online now supports apps

– More control over search in SharePoint Online

– SkyDrive integration (more to come on this)


As you can see there’s a lot of improvements, and many more to be documented. So many that I’ve created a new category for these blog posts.

Because Office 365 is in the hands of customers now, moving to the new version they will see that Microsoft has listened to their feedback and delivered!



  1. Gabi


    My biggest surprise was – Public folders.

    That is something which was really missed in Office 365 and everyone was suggesting that Sharepoint was the way forward for that.

    It was a great idea but fundamentally, I think that would not be a suitable solution.

    Having spoken to make techies, they all confirmed that Public Folders would not return, little did they know.

    Let’s hope they are here to stay. I wonder how the permissions will work……..


    • Loryan Strant


      Agreed. For many years Microsoft tried to kill them off, so the fact that they exist in the Office 365 Preview was also my biggest surprise.

  2. Brian


    resource mailboxes (recipient type: room, equipment) are available in the current office 365 .

  3. Pingback: Office 365 takes control | IT Professional Services Limited

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