This post will highlight some of the new features and functionality that has been recently introduced for Office 365.

Message Center

First up is the new Message Center for Office 365. Message center is meant to augment communications from Microsoft to Office 365 Admins, not to replace e-mail and other communications methods. Below is the view of the Message Center from my Tenant:

You’ll notice above that the link to the Message Center is highlighted below Purchase services. The Message center content for my tenant is the same as for my company’s tenant at the time of this writing. Both show information about End of support for Windows XP and Upgrading to the latest version of Internet Explorer. Notice these two items on the list have Complete Action By dates of 4/8/2014. The other two entries list out more informational items that do not have actionable due dates.

SharePoint Newsfeed App for Windows 8

A new Windows 8 Store app has been release to allow you to keep up with SharePoint Newsfeeds from SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online. Read more about this app here.

OWA for iPhone and OWA for iPad

This to me is a bit confusing, as OWA, via the Safari Browser, has been available to iPad and iPhone users for a while now. What this actually is talking about is an actual app you download and install on your IOS device to access your email account. I personally would have called this Outlook for IOS versus confusing the OWA name with an installed app, but I don’t work for Microsoft Marketing and they didn’t ask me for recommendations about naming the IOS appsJ. As I don’t run any of the fruit products, you will have to get further info on the new OWA for IOS here.

DirSync Object Sync Increased for Vanity Domains

Until recently, DirSync had a soft limit of syncing 50,000 items on a default install and tenant settings. To sync more than the 50,000 objects in the past you were required to submit a Service Request with Microsoft via the Office 365 portal to request they increase the limit. Now when you add a vanity domain, a domain you own, like my, to your tenant, the DirSync limit is automatically increased to 300,000 objects. Read more about this here.

Office Mobile for iPhone and Android

Office Mobile Apps are now available for both the iPhone and Android devices. This is a free download from the corresponding apps store for each platform. You do need to have an Office 365 subscription to be able to use the Office Mobile apps on either platform. Here is the link for iPhone and Android.

SkyDrive Pro Standalone Sync Clients for Windows

Until this launch, the only way to get the ability to sync SkyDrive Pro sync client for Windows was to install Office 2013. Now Microsoft is making available a standalone client to install and sync files from your SkyDrive Pro location to your Windows Workstation. This client is available for Windows 7 and Windows 8 and can be installed side-by-side with Office 2010 and 2007. Get more information and the download here.

SkyDrive Pro Apps for Windows 8 and IOS

Along the lines of the above information, you can now install a Windows 8 Store App or IOS. This will allow you to sync your SkyDrive Pro docs with both platforms, more info here.

SkyDrive Name is going Away

Microsoft lost a court battle over the SkyDrive name and has announced that they must rename both the SkyDrive consumer service and the SkyDrive Pro enterprise service name. While this is going to be a big endeavor for Microsoft and cause pains in the interim, I hope Microsoft takes this opportunity to rename each of the services separately and help end the confusion that currently exists for many users around SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro. More to come on this!