Gary Ewan Park - Can .Net User Groups get @Office365 for free?

Can .Net User Groups get @Office365 for free?

Published on 29 June 2011

For a few months now I have been using the Office365 Beta to run the email accounts for the Aberdeen Developers .Net User Group and I am happy to say that it has been working really well, and in all honesty, it “just” works.

I have it hooked up through Outlook on my desktop as an Exchange Account, and also through my Windows Phone 7. Initially, there were a couple teething problems to get the required DNS entries sorted out, but that was more of a problem with my hosting provider than anything else.

As a User Group we are “toying” with the idea of perhaps using the supplied SharePoint Team Site to host the actual .Net User Group Website and fully utilise the built in Document Library functionality of SharePoint to share documents/slide decks with our users, as well as collaborate on User Group documents.

Now comes the problem though...

Since the Office365 program is now out of Beta, you now have to pay for the service.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a huge amount of money, it starts at £4 per user, per month (full details can be found here), but given that we are a User Group who runs free events for the community, there simply isn’t any budget allocated for this type of service.

So, as an open question to Microsoft (are you there?) I would like to request that this service be provided free of charge to .Net User Groups across the country.

We (.Net User Groups) are investing a lot of time in energy in bringing events to our members and informing them about your technology stack so I think it would be a great idea if this service could be provided to help us continue to do this.

So...

What do you think?

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