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Office 365 beta kicks off this year  (Source: Microsoft)
Limited beta this year with general availability in 2011

Two biggest and most profitable products that Microsoft offers are Office and the Windows operating system. The company has announced this week that it is set to start testing a new cloud-based online version of Office that will battle directly against Google Docs in the business market for productivity software.

The new service is called Office 365 and Microsoft says that the new offering makes it easy for workers and users anywhere to access Office productivity solutions and more from virtually any device on virtually any browser. Office 365 is launching in a limited beta program in 13 countries with various organizations soon.

Office 365 will work on devices like smartphones and the iPad reports 
ReutersReuters also notes that Office 365 supports not only IE but Firefox, Chrome, and Safari browsers as well. Microsoft says the new software offering was developed based on close work with existing customers.

"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."

Office 365 for small companies with under 25 workers will offer Office Web Apps, Exchange Online, SharePoint online, Lync Online, and an external website for $6 per user per month. Larger enterprise users will be offered basic email for $2 monthly and more robust versions of the software will be offered for $24 monthly per user with access to Office Professional Plus along with e-mail, voicemail, enterprise social networking, instant messaging, Web portals, extranets, voiceconferencing and videoconferencing, webconferencing, 24x7 phone support, on-premises licenses and a lot more.

“For a small business, Office 365 is a perfect way to start,” said Rob Nichols, chief technology officer of Allovus Design, a graphic design firm and member of Microsoft’s Customer Advisory Board for Office 365. “It has all the features we need, and we can come out of the gate with the same tools the big guys have — on day one.”

Microsoft will offer Office 365 globally starting next year with general availability in 40 countries and regions. Office 365 for Education will also debut next year for students.

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RE: Advertising
By Smilin on 10/20/2010 12:51:59 PM , Rating: 3
I think you're taking a jab at the recent video blasting OpenOffice but ironically Office 365 is just further proof that OpenOffice is indeed inferior.

Office365 and Office2010 are well integrated. You can actually move and edit documents in and out of the cloud and maintain 100% fidelity. OpenOffice can't even maintain fidelity on-premise let alone provide a cloud service.

RE: Advertising
By The Raven on 10/21/2010 3:24:47 PM , Rating: 2
I know. It can't cook you breakfast either. But that is what you get with a free product for making docs, spreadsheets, or managing a database. If you want to put something in the cloud use Google docs or even Office365.

But that is exactly my point. I think that OO is inferior.
MS thinks that just because it is inferior it is bad for your school/company/home and then make a ridiculous ad about that opinion.

And BTW, it does maintain 100% fidelity among apps that embrace odf. Yeah it has problems playing with MSO, but that is because that is how MS likes it. If MS would ditch their proprietary formats then that wouldn't even be an issue. (Hence I use G-docs for sharing).

And this is by no means a claim that Office365 is an inferior product. If it is what you need, more power to you. I just don't like MS attacking the little guy. And not the Steve Jobs kind of little guy. I mean the people who use and code for OO and other open-source projects.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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