Microsoft seems to want Office 365 to be its new Windows, the universal personal computing platform. Windows sales have declined for years now, as users switched a lot their computing to mobile devices and, to a lesser extent, Macs. Positioning Office 365 as the common platform across the new reality of a multidevice world makes sense.
But Microsoft’s execution on—and commitment to—that vision is highly uneven. Some parts of the company clearly believe in that cross-platform vision. Some parts see mobile devices as junior adjuncts to computers. Some parts see mobile as near-equal partners, given Microsoft’s failure to have its own successful mobile platform, but they can’t get behind Mac support because that platform directly competes with Windows.
How that tentative internal state translates is Microsoft execs and spokespeople using empty phrases like, “We’re always listening to customer feedback and have heard this,” and “It’s on our road map, but we can’t go into any more detail.” In other words: Dream on.
The result is that any multiplatform user—and many, if not most, enterprises—can’t actually adopt Office 365 as that universal computing platform system, only some pieces.
As my parent company’s IT support manager says, “We have done a few pilots here with mixed platforms, and it’s getting a bit old to have to continually point out the differences, include the workarounds and mention that the feature you are missing is ‘in the road map.’ Just another kink that does not help with getting clients to transition to a new solution.”
The table below shows you what each Office 365 component supports, so you know when you can actually rely on Microsoft as your solutions provider and when you can’t.