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Mailbag: December 19, 2010

In this week's mailbag: Office 365 and non-profits, using Microsoft Security Essentials 2 with Windows Server, reading PDFs on the Kindle, finding Zune speakers in an iPod world, moving files and folders within Office Web Apps and SkyDrive, and fears about the future of Windows Phone.

Have a question? I can't guarantee an answer, but I'll try. Drop me a note! (And let me know if you'd prefer not to have your name published.)

501.3(c) Pricing for Office 365

Trey D. asks:

Do you know if Microsoft has any plans to sell a special pricing tier on Office 365 for 501.3(c) organizations?  They have a plan for outright purchasing software at a discount right now, but I'm thinking my church might be interested in using 365 instead.

I asked Microsoft about this and received the following response:

For \\[Office 365 predecessor\\] BPOS \\[Business Productivity Online Suite), Microsoft currently offers a discount program for non-profit organizations who meet the requirements of our validation process. We have no details to share at this time on special discounts for Office 365. Watch for more updates when the product becomes available.

I take this as a hopeful sign that 501.3(c) pricing is in the cards.

Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows Server

I haven't tested this, but Brian R. reports that Microsoft Security Essentials 2, which was just released this week, actually installs on Windows Server as well as client versions of Windows:

MSE 2.0 will install happily on Windows Server SKUs whereas the 1.0 version would refuse. The license allows installing on "ten (10) devices in your business." Apparently that can include your server(s).

The license does state very clearly, "if you operate a small business, then you may install and use the software on up to ten (10) devices in your business." But I'm guessing this isn't how Microsoft intended MSE to be used. And the license does also state, "the software may not be used on a device running an enterprise version of a Microsoft Windows operating system."

Given that MSE does do a validation check, I have to think they'd have blocked this type of install if they had wanted to.

Reading PDFs on the Kindle

Mukesh G. asks:

I have lot of books in the PDF format and I don’t really want to carry my laptop with me. I was wondering if it is possible to download all my PDF books to the Kindle.

Yes, though depending on the formatting, the non-DX Kindle (i.e. the mainstream, "regular sized" Kindle) might not be ideal. The problem is that each page in the PDF is rendered to match the original formatting but is shrunk to the screen size. So it's like taking a JPEG image and shrinking it down; it's OK in some cases, but not necessarily ideal for more intricate documents.

To get a PDF file on your Kindle, you can attach it to a PC and drag and drop it via Explorer.

Speakers for Zune in an iPod World

Suzy B. asks:

I purchased a Zune HD for my son. For Christmas I was thinking of getting him a speaker thing so he can play the music in his room without the ear buds. Best Buy only carries Apple stuff. Any recommendations?

There are two routes here. First you could go with any standard set of powered speakers, which would connect through the headphone jack on the Zune, and this includes numerous iPod-oriented speakers, many of which include standard line-in connections too. I happen to use the Bose Companion II for this purpose; they're just regular computer speakers, but they sound great.

If you want something a bit more seamless, you could add the Zune HD AV Dock, which would provide a place for the Zune to "sit" while charging it at the same time.

Update: A number of readers have pointed out that there are some Zune-specific hardware accessories out there as well. I was shooting for solutions that wouldn't tie you to a particular hardware platform, but it may be worth checking out Microsoft's Zune Accessories page for more information about what's available.

Moving Files and Folders within Office Web Apps and Windows Live SkyDrive

Joshua P. asks:

I was wondering if you knew how to move files inside of Office Web Apps/Sky Drive? I can't find this option anywhere. Is it one of those "simple but not easy" things that is buried somewhere?

You can move individual files only, by mousing over them and choosing More (on the right) and then Move. This is rather tedious, of course, and doesn't help with folders of files. So if you've got a lot of stuff to move, it may make sense to look into one of the third party SkyDrive clients, which offer drag and drop functionality. I'd start with SDExplorer.

Fears About the Future of Windows Phone

Joseph S. asks:

I'm curious about Windows Phone 7’s ability to survive. No sales figures are out, and I just don't want to buy a device that gets abandoned a month down the line. KIN had a ridiculous premise, but its terrible failure scares me a bit. I know you aren't some kind of marketing analyst for WP7 or anything, but you seem to be very knowledgeable of the platform. Do you believe the platform has a bright future? Any future at all? Doomed?

I think they're in it for the long haul. We'll see how successful it is, but this is core to what they do, and they're not going to just walk away from it.

On a related note, my recent commentary Windows Phone 7: Too Big to Fail? addresses this topic as well.

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