Microsoft unveils cloud-based Office suite, Office 365

By Tom Warren, on 20th Oct 10 8:26 am with Comments Off

Microsoft unveiled its latest cloud productivity software, Office 365, on Tuesday.

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.

“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.”

Starting today, Microsoft will begin testing Office 365 externally with a few thousand organizations in 13 countries and regions around the world. Microsoft plans to expand  the beta to include more organizations over time. Office 365 will be generally available in 40 countries and regions next year.