Microsoft Launches Office 365 Cloud Service

Microsoft Corp. has announced the availability of Microsoft Office 365, the company’s newest cloud service. Office 365 is now available in 40 markets, and it brings together Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service, at a predictable monthly subscription. It was announced Tuesday, June 28.

The service was introduced in beta last year and, in a few months, more than 200,000 organizations signed up and began testing it, says the company.

More than 20 service providers around the globe have also shared plans to bring Office 365 to their customers this year. Bell Canada, Intuit Inc., NTT Communications Corp., Telefonica S.A., Telstra Corp. and Vodafone Group Plc, among others, will package and sell Office 365 with their own services for small and midsize businesses.

“Great collaboration is critical to business growth, and because it’s so important, we believe the best collaboration technology should be available to everyone,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “With a few clicks, Office 365 levels the playing field, giving small and midsize businesses powerful collaboration tools that have given big businesses an edge for years.”

Office 365 is available in a wide range of service plans designed to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, ranging from the largest to the smallest.

With Office 365, people can stay on the “same page” using instant messaging and virtual meetings with people who are just down the hall or across the world. They can work on files and documents at the same time and share ideas as easily as they can share calendars. It gives people new ways to work together with ease, on virtually any device.

Microsoft Office applications are at the heart of Office 365. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook and other Office applications connect to Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and Lync to deliver a solution for communication and collaboration.

Office 365 offers a range of service plans for a predictable monthly price from $2 to $27 per user per month. With Office 365 for small businesses, customers can be up and running with Office Web Apps, Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Lync Online and an external website, for $6 (U.S.) per user, per month.

According to the company, these tools put enterprise-grade email, shared documents, instant messaging, video and Web conferencing, portals, and more at everyone’s fingertips.

Office 365 for enterprises has an array of choices, from simple email to comprehensive suites to meet the needs of midsize and large businesses, as well as government organizations.

Customers can now get Microsoft Office Professional Plus on a pay-as-you-go basis with cloud-based versions of the business communications and collaboration services.

Each of these plans comes with the IT controls, security technologies, 24/7 IT support and reliability.

Businesses can try Office 365 for free for 30 days by signing up at http://www.office365.com or from their local Microsoft partner.

Photo courtesy: Microsoft

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