Microsoft announced the public availability of its Office 365 beta suite on Monday.
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.
“We’ve been in the cloud for years supporting large enterprises such as Shell and DuPont, but Office 365 takes that same technology power and delivers it to small businesses,” said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president, Microsoft Office Division. “More than 70 percent of the people who signed up for the limited beta were small businesses, so it clearly strikes a chord.”
The public beta expands the availability of Office 365. A total of 38 markets and 17 language can now try Office 365 for the first time. Microsoft originally allowed a few thousand organizations, in 13 countries and regions around the world, access to the beta. Office 365 will be generally available in 40 countries and regions later this year.