Access Apps for Office 365 Hits 'General Availability'
Access apps for Office 365 users have reached Microsoft's "general availability" production milestone this month.
General availability means that Access apps are commercial grade and ready for production use. The one exception is Access apps for Office 365 Government users, which are still considered to be at the preview stage, according to Microsoft's announcement on Monday.
Access apps are supplementary Web applications, hosted on SharePoint, that work within Microsoft's Access relational database management system. The apps typically get written by independent software vendors. Users can purchase the apps by downloading them from Microsoft's "SharePoint Store," which is accessible from the Settings control within Access.
Access Apps can be used by those individuals or organizations having "Office 365 Small Business, Midsize, Enterprise, and Education" subscriptions, according to Microsoft.
In addition to Access apps being ready for production environments, they can now be sold by developers. Access apps have been available for about a year, but Microsoft considered them to be at the "preview" test stage of release. The general availability status of Access apps means that they now have the same service level agreement guarantees as Office 365 itself, which is about 99.9 percent uptime, or around eight hours of downtime per year.
In other Office 365 news, Microsoft announced on Monday that it plans to roll out a new cloud-based service for Project Online users. Called "Project Lite," it will let team members on a project view and update tasks, as well as enter issues/risks and timesheets. The Project Lite service is planned for availability on May 1, with pricing at $7 per user per month.
All told, Microsoft claims that Project, its project management solution, is being used by "more than 20 million people."
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.