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Being an IT consulting in Chicago for a number of years, there seems to be confusion about a number of different topics. Here is one of the most current confusing technology offering.

For most people, they know it is cloud based service, what they seem to get confused about is licensing and how it actually works. If you purchase the Office 365 personal – you have two options individual and family. The individual allows you to download and install Office 2013 on a single machine, the family one gives the ability to install on 5 machines.

To be clear, you are not getting a “cloud” application, it is more just a purchase where the actual product needs a computer to install on and run from. It would be no different then if you purchased an Office 2013 disk and installed it, except for that fact that you download it instead. Many people believe Office 365 requires no installation, but just the ability to use a browser to open documents. In addition these documents will automatically live in the cloud. This is also confusing because for the majority of users the documents will not live in the cloud, but perhaps sync to the cloud if you start using Microsoft’s One Drive offering.

The other confusion is Office 365 personal and business… many believe you can purchase a few personal licenses and over a business. This may be true but it was surely not the intent. It is not true when it comes to using Office 365 – hosted Exchange. In that case you have to get a license for each user (mailbox) you need. There are no shortcuts and getting personal licenses are not going to translate to the usage of hosted Exchange. Only getting the business licensing are going to allow a license for hosted Exchange product.

What is hosted Exchange?

Basically that is an email system that Microsoft offers that allows you to send and receive emails online, or using Outlook. It will use your business domain name such as mycompanyname.com. It is a great product with completive prices compare to Google Apps or even setting up your own in-house email system.