Microsoft is due to launch Office 365 later today.
The software giant is preparing for the launch by removing the beta tag from its product. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will host a Office 365 launch party in New York later today. Microsoft is planning to live stream the event and introduce the general availability of the company’s online Office 365 cloud service. The live stream will be available at 10AM EDT (see other time zones) and viewable here.
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.
Microsoft has also revealed its pricing for Office 365. Starting at just $6 per month per user, businesses big and small can sign-up for a variety of plans. The beefiest package, available to enterprise customers, works out to $27 per month per user. The top package includes archiving and access to Microsoft’s Lync collaboration service. Microsoft expanded the capability of its Office 365 beta in April. 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. Microsoft has been trailing the new service across 100,000 users during the beta phase. Office 365 will be generally available in 40 countries at launch later today.