Starting in early 2010, what was previously known as BPOS version 2 or Union will be available as Office 365. The name should reflect the availability of the platform (which suffered some reputation step back this summer). Today the beta is released, available to a 1000+ customers worldwide.
Among the features of the new versions will be partial feature sets of the following on-premise products:
- Exchange Server 2010 SP1
- SharePoint 2010
- Lync Server 2010
- Federated Identity
- Dynamics CRM
Another interesting aspect of the new offering will be its declinations, ie enterprise, mid-size business, education, etc. . With those new features, we can see the offering being more mature. They get more competitive for small user-base and more enterprise-ready for bigger customer.
As I wrote here before, I have been quite impressed with BPOS. The major hurdle for me was the absence of an enterprise single sign-on solution. This is going away with Office 365. This makes this offering very attractive. For instance, even for short-lived collaboration project SharePoint Online becomes a very good solution.