Microsoft Brings Always-on Office on the Cloud

Software behemoth Microsoft has unveiled Microsoft Office 365, the company’s new offering on the cloud computing platform. It 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 secure way, says the company.

As infotech companies are increasingly offering cloud-based solutions, tech leader IBM has expanded its CloudBurst family of pre-integrated cloud service delivery platforms by delivering an appliance on its POWER7-based hardware as well as separately offering the software to run on currently installed IBM and non-IBM systems. (Read: What Private Clouds Offer to Businesses)

Microsoft is also opening a limited beta program for Office 365 in 13 countries and regions.

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Office 365 is built on the company’s experience of delivering business cloud services ranging from the browser-based e-mail to Business Productivity Online Suite, Microsoft Office Live Small Business and Live@edu. 

Moving to the cloud with Office 365 means people don’t have to change the way they work, because Office 365 works with the most popular browsers, smartphones and desktop applications people use today, Microsoft suggests.

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“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 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 at $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, voice conferencing and videoconferencing, web conferencing, 24×7 phone support, on-premises licenses, and more.

Office 365 will be available worldwide next year, said Microsoft in a statement released Tuesday, Oct. 19.

Photo courtesy: Microsoft

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