Microsoft took the wraps off its cloud based productivity suite on Tuesday. The software giant held a number of media events around the world to announce the general availability of Office 365, the company’s latest cloud service. Office 365 is now available in 40 countries and unites Microsoft Office, SharePoint, Exchange Online and Lync Online.
Microsoft introduced the original beta of Office 365 last year. Over 200,000 organisations signed up to test Office 365 and more than 20 service providers worldwide have plans to offer Office 365 to their customers this year. “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.”
Microsoft offers a range of monthly prices for Office 365. Customers can pick between $2 and $27 offerings per user per month. Office 365 will allow businesses to deploy the latest Office software from Microsoft whether it’s on the desktop, online or via the cloud. Office 365 provides Office 2010, Exchange, SharePoint and Lync all Online in a cloud-based service. The service is a full browser-based solution that incorporates webmail, collaboration and document management. The entry-level package, Office 365 for Small Businesses, provides Office Web Apps, Exchange, SharePoint and Lync online with an external website for $6 per user, per month. Larger businesses can take advantage of Office 365 for Enterprise. The package is $24 a user, per month and will include email, voicemail, enterprise social networking, instant messaging, web portals, extranets, voiceconferencing and videoconferencing. The Enterprise package also includes pay-as-you-go access to Office Professional Plus.