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Microsoft Office 365 Leaves Beta Stage

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If there’s one thing that Microsoft do well, I mean, really well, it’s Office. Anyone who writes on a PC from bloggers to students, journalists, to budding authors will love Office and that’s just for Word; there is of course the legendary Excel, the ubiquitous Powerpoint and a host of other programs and features for all our creative needs.

But it’s not just the home and student domain that uses Office, one of Microsoft’s main target audiences is the small business – a very lucrative market. With the new cloud service Office 365, Ballmer and Co step up their game and provide small business with the software of the future.

365 has been in beta since April and today it officially leaves the testing phase following a New York event and we’ll all be keeping an eye on how well it is received.

Ballmer bigged up the product in today’s event stating;

“With Office 365, people can stay connected with instant messaging,”

“With Office 365, people can work together on files and documents simultaneously.”

Feedback has been positive so far with Scripps Networks being one of the many Beta customers singing it’s praises. Chris Roberts senior manager of the network which is in charge of channels such as Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel said, “It’s hard to imagine you’re in a browser. It feels like you are in the client application”

But will the thousands of customers expected to adopt the new service in the coming weeks and months be equally impressed? We’ll have to wait to find out.


[spoiler]NEW YORK — June 28, 2011 — Today, at media events around the world, Microsoft Corp. announced the availability ofMicrosoft Office 365, the company’s newest cloud service. Office 365 is now available in 40 markets, and it brings together Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service, at a predictable monthly subscription.

The service was introduced in beta last year with enthusiastic response and, in a few months, more than 200,000 organizations signed up and began testing it. Businesses using Office 365 are already reporting impressive results and reducing IT costs by up to an estimated 50 percent while boosting productivity.

Today, more than 20 service providers around the globe also shared plans to bring Office 365 to their customers this year. Bell Canada, Intuit Inc., NTT Communications Corp., Telefonica S.A., Telstra Corp. and Vodafone Group Plc, among others, will package and sell Office 365 with their own services for small and midsize businesses.

“Great collaboration is critical to business growth, and because it’s so important, we believe the best collaboration technology should be available to everyone,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “With a few clicks, Office 365 levels the playing field, giving small and midsize businesses powerful collaboration tools that have given big businesses an edge for years.”

A Game Changer for Businesses of All Sizes

Office 365 is available in a wide range of service plans designed to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, ranging from the largest to the smallest.

With Office 365, people can stay on the “same page” using instant messaging and virtual meetings with people who are just down the hall or across the world. They can work on files and documents at the same time and share ideas as easily as they can share calendars. Office 365 gives people new ways to work together with ease, on virtually any device.

Microsoft Office applications are at the heart of Office 365. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook and other Office applications connect to Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and Lync to deliver a world-class solution for communication and collaboration.

“When I saw Office 365, I knew this was the way businesses would work in the future,” said Elia Wallen, owner of fast-growing temporary housing provider Travelers Haven. “With Office 365, I’m going to save $100,000 a year and cut 30 hours of work a day across my 35 employees, but most importantly, my team is going to be able to work together better — no matter where they are.”

More stories from businesses that have tried Office 365 are available at

Office 365 Partners

Microsoft is building a massive partner ecosystem around Office 365, including systems integrators, software vendors, resellers and other partners. Today, that ecosystem is expanding as the company partners in new ways with market-leading service providers. These companies will package Office 365 with their own services — from Web hosting and broadband to finance solutions and mobile services — and bring those new offerings to millions of small and midsize businesses globally.

“Our partners represent some of the best-known, most-trusted brands in their local markets,” said Kurt DelBene, president, Microsoft Office Division. “Our customers will be able to rest easy knowing their cloud services are backed by Microsoft and some of the greatest service providers in the world.”

A list of Office 365 service provider partners is available here.

About Office 365

Office 365 offers a range of service plans for a predictable monthly price from $2 to $27 per user per month. With Office 365 for small businesses, customers can be up and running with Office Web Apps, Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Lync Online and an external website in minutes, for $6 (U.S.) per user, per month. These tools put enterprise-grade email, shared documents, instant messaging, video and Web conferencing, portals, and more at everyone’s fingertips.

Office 365 for enterprises has an array of choices, from simple email to comprehensive suites to meet the needs of midsize and large businesses, as well as government organizations. Customers can now get Microsoft Office Professional Plus on a pay-as-you-go basis with cloud-based versions of the industry’s leading business communications and collaboration services. Each of these plans comes with the advanced IT controls, innovative security technologies, 24/7 IT support and reliability customers expect from Microsoft.


Office 365 for small businesses and Office 365 for enterprises are available now. Businesses can try Office 365 for free for 30 days by signing up at or from their local Microsoft partner. Follow Office 365 on Twitter (@Office365), Facebook ( and the Office 365 blog at http://community.office365.comfor the latest information.[/spoiler]

Will you be getting Office 365 for your small business? Let us know what you like about it by leaving a comment. Also don’t forget to check out our Twitter and Facebook pages for more Gadget news!