BPOS customers face shutdown as cancellation deadline looms

UPDATEDx2: “Lots” of customers not wanting to pay for desktop software upgrade.

Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) customers who failed to confirm before September 7 their intention to migrate to Microsoft’s Office 365 platform could lose their emails when BPOS is switched off on October 31.  

Microsoft launched its cloud productivity suite Office 365 in June last year and was in the process of migrating customers across before it cancelled the BPOS services at the end of October. However, customers had to agree to new terms and conditions for Office 365 and pay for an upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Office desktop software before the migration.

A Telstra partner who spoke to BoxFreeIT on condition of anonymity said there were “an awful lot of organisations that aren’t going to read Ts and Cs” and that “there are lots who haven’t consented” to the migration.

“Maybe they don’t want to move or the person in charge of BPOS has moved on. And for some businesses the last thing they want is another disruption,” the partner said. Another partner told BoxFreeIT that some customers were resisting because they didn’t want to pay the cost of upgrading their Office desktop software. Those customers were happy to keep using BPOS but they had ignored several warnings that the service would be switched off on October 31. 

Telstra wrote in its email to T-Suite Microsoft Online Services (MOS) partners, “We require your URGENT support to contact your BPOS customers who are yet to consent to the terms and conditions for migration to Office 365 which will avoid disruption to their online service.”

Microsoft has advised Telstra of its intention to complete scheduled migrations by 28 September 2012, Telstra’s email to partners said. Customers needed to confirm before 7 September their intention to migrate to Office 365 or be left to migrate themselves manually. The confirmation form could be accessed here.  

Telstra provided BoxFreeIT with a written response to questions about what would happen to BPOS customers’ emails after October 31. “Telstra started advising our BPOS customers in October 2011 about Microsoft’s planned exit of the BPOS platform at the end of October 2012 and we invited them to move to Office 365.

“BPOS customers who have not notified us by 7 September 2012 will need to make their own arrangements to move to Office 365, or to an alternative email service, before the BPOS platform is decommissioned by Microsoft on 31 October 2012. Microsoft has advised that from 31 October 2012, access to the BPOS services will end,” Telstra wrote.

“Telstra has gone to great lengths to contact them and inform them,” said Loryan Strant from Paradyne, one of the Microsoft partners who had the most customers still on BPOS.

Telstra told partners it would email BPOS customers in the next few days asking them to accept the terms and conditions for migration to Office 365 or advise that they do not wish to upgrade. Customers that decided not to upgrade would need to backup their emails manually either themselves or with an IT services company, or lose them when BPOS was switched off.

“If your customers choose to remain on the BPOS platform until 31 October 2012, we recommend they undertake steps to avoid loss of data prior to the cancellation of services on 31 October 2012,” Telstra’s email to partners said.

“If a company hasn’t consented by now, come end of October BPOS will be turned off and they will be gone,” the partner said.

 

A TIMELINE

7 September 2012:     Customers are required to consent to the terms and conditions to ensure their migration to Office 365 is completed by Microsoft.

28 September 2012:   Final Microsoft migration batch is scheduled for 29-30 September.

31 October 2012:         BPOS Exit

 

About Sholto Macpherson

Sholto Macpherson is a business technology journalist specialising in cloud software. He lives and works in Sydney, Australia.

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