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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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The cloud
By atlmann10 on 10/20/2010 5:19:59 PM , Rating: 0
M$ is following Google's lead on this, and I believe validly so. Office 365 is not as fully featured as office yet, but it adds one very important component which is mobility.

Think about this if everything is mobile from a professional standpoint how is this a bad idea. I think business's especially new ones are going to be going more and more to this way of doing work. Yes a business may loose some money in licenses and other things.

However; from a wider as well as more visionary, how much does it cost to run a big land based building. This is especially true of the mobile part of my work force. So I loose a few dollars per employee on licenses to change to this. I also do not have to supply a land based location for them to work in which is hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

As it goes right now a lot of businesses do both already. They have an office and computers internally for each employee as well as an internal network which has to be maintained, upgraded etc. With these kind of solutions at the least you would need a building 1/4 to 1/3 smaller minimum, and probably smaller as more of your workforce goes entirely mobile.

This is where it is going it may not be tomorrow, but it will be for a large amount of businesses especially new ones. So M$ is rolling it out a little earlier than it will be needed. This will also help this way of doing business to grow, and they will be in on the ground floor.

RE: The cloud
By Smilin on 10/20/2010 6:03:06 PM , Rating: 3
You lost me at $.

It's 2010. Step out of the 90s. Microsoft has grown up and so should you.

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