Microsoft launched a fully online version of its Office suite
of applications on Tuesday as it looks to extend its customer
base and beat back rival Google.
Office 365 brings together Microsoft Office, SharePoint
Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in an
always-up-to-date cloud service. With Office 365, people can
work together more easily from anywhere on virtually any
device, while collaborating with others inside and outside
their organization in a simple and secure way. As part of
today?s news, Microsoft is also opening a limited beta program
for Office 365 in 13 countries and regions.
Office 365 works with the most popular browsers, smartphones
and desktop applications people use today, including Mozilla's
Firefox, Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome, and can be used
on mobile devices such as Research in Motion's BlackBerry and
"Office 365 is the best of everything we know about
productivity, all in a single cloud service," said Kurt
DelBene, president of the Office Division at Microsoft. "With
Office 365, your local bakery can get enterprise-caliber
software and services for the first time, while a
multinational pharmaceutical company can reduce costs and more
easily stay current with the latest innovations. People can
focus on their business, while we and our partners take care
of the technology."
With Office 365 for small businesses, professionals and small
companies with fewer than 25 employees can be up and running
with Office Web Apps, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync
Online and an external website in just 15 minutes, for $6 or
5.25 euros per user, per month.
Office 365 for enterprises introduces an array of choices for
midsize and large businesses as well as government
organizations, starting for as little as $2 or 1.75 euros per
user, per month for basic e-mail. Office 365 for enterprises
also includes the option to get Microsoft Office Professional
Plus desktop software on a pay-as-you-go basis, for the first
time ever. For $24 or 22.75 euros per user, per month,
organizations can get Office Professional Plus along with
e-mail, voicemail, enterprise social networking, instant
messaging, Web portals, extranets, voiceconferencing and
videoconferencing, webconferencing, 24x7 phone support,
on-premises licenses, and more.
Office 365 will be available worldwide next year. Starting
today, Microsoft will begin testing Office 365 with a few
thousand organizations in 13 countries and regions around the
world, and the beta will be expanded to include more
organizations over time. Office 365 will be generally
available in 40 countries and regions next year.
Later next year, Office 365 will expand to include Microsoft
Dynamics CRM Online to provide Microsoft?s complete business
productivity experience to organizations of all types and
sizes. In addition, Office 365 for education will debut later
next year, giving students, faculty and school employees
powerful technology tailored specifically to their needs.
The move strikes a blow against rival Google, which has had
some success with its Google Apps service, which provides a
low-cost, Web-based alternative to Microsoft's traditional
Office software for $50 per user per year.