Behold all ye mortals, the cloud of productivity approaches. Microsoft Office Division president Kurt DelBene announced the beta and the site today with such epic sentences as "Office 365 is the best of everything we know about productivity, all in a single cloud service" and "People can focus on their business, while we and our partners take care of the technology." Mighty fine, yes, mighty fine is how this all seems. The launch of this site (http://office365.com/) is part of a limited beta spanning 13 countries. The cloud shall cover us all.
The Office 365 site goes live today with a sign up sheet customers can put their name on to learn all sorts of fun info about their glorious future in super functionality and tied-togetherness. The actual release date for Office 365 isn't firm as yet, but Microsoft states that it will be generally available in 40 countries as early as next year. Behold the press release:
Microsoft Announces Office 365
New cloud service brings together Office, SharePoint, Exchange and Lync for organizations of all sizes.
REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 19, 2010 — Microsoft Corp. today announced Microsoft Office 365, the company’s next generation in cloud productivity that brings together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service. Office 365 makes it easier for millions more organizations to get and use Microsoft’s award-winning business productivity solutions via the cloud. With Office 365, people can work together more easily from anywhere on virtually any device, while collaborating with others inside and outside their organization in a simple and highly secure way. As part of today’s news, Microsoft is also opening a limited beta program for Office 365 in 13 countries and regions.
Office 365 is built on years of experience delivering industry-leading business cloud services ranging from the first browser-based e-mail to today’s Business Productivity Online Suite, Microsoft Office Live Small Business and Live@edu. Moving to the cloud with Office 365 means people don’t have to change the way they work, because Office 365 works with the most popular browsers, smartphones and desktop applications people use today.
“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.”
Microsoft worked closely with existing customers to develop Office 365, resulting in a cloud service that is designed to meet a wide range of customer needs.
With Office 365 for small businesses, professionals and small companies with fewer than 25 employees can be up and running with Office Web Apps, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and an external website in just 15 minutes, for $6 or 5.25 euros per user, per month.
“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.”
Office 365 for enterprises introduces an array of choices for midsize and large businesses as well as government organizations, starting for as little as $2 or 1.75 euros per user, per month1 for basic e-mail. Office 365 for enterprises also includes the option to get Microsoft Office Professional Plus desktop software on a pay-as-you-go basis, for the first time ever. For $24 or 22.75 euros per user, per month1, organizations can get Office Professional Plus along with e-mail, voicemail, enterprise social networking, instant messaging, Web portals, extranets, voiceconferencing and videoconferencing, webconferencing, 24×7 phone support, on-premises licenses, and more.
Office 365 creates new growth opportunities for Microsoft and its partners by reaching more customers and types of workers and meeting more business IT needs — all while cutting costs for customers.
Office 365 will be available worldwide next year. Starting today, Microsoft will begin testing Office 365 with a few thousand organizations in 13 countries and regions around the world, and the beta will be expanded to include more organizations over time. Office 365 will be generally available in 40 countries and regions next year.
Later next year, Office 365 will expand to include Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to provide Microsoft’s complete business productivity experience to organizations of all types and sizes. In addition, Office 365 for education will debut later next year, giving students, faculty and school employees powerful technology tailored specifically to their needs.
Today at 12 p.m. PDT, Microsoft will launch http://www.Office365.com. Customers and partners can sign up for the Office 365 beta and learn more at that site, or follow Office 365 on Twitter (@Office365), Facebook (Office 365), or the new Office 365 blog at http://community.office365.com to get the latest information.