What is Office Online Server?

Microsoft has released ‘Office Online Server’ but what is it and should we care?

Everyone can use the ‘Office Online’ services, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote which let you use basic versions of those programs in your browser.  Even for regular Office software users, the Online versions are a handy ‘fallback’ position.

Office Online is hosted from Microsoft’s servers around the globe.   That’s fine for most of us but not large organizations.  They prefer to have everything ‘in house’ for better data protection and control.

That’s where ‘Office Online Server’ (OOS) comes in.  Organizations can install OOS on their own servers and run Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote in a browser for their staff.

It’s an economical option for staff who don’t need full Office software installed on their computer or login from other computers.

OOS has a free option which lets users just view documents.  For document creation, editing and saving an on-premises Office suite license with Software Assurance or an Office 365 ProPlus subscription is required.

As an introductory enticement,  “Customers that purchase an on-premises Office 2016 suite through Volume Licensing before August 1, 2016 will be exempt from the Software Assurance requirement through August 1, 2019.”.

Office Online Server is the successor to Office Web Apps Server 2013.

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