Software giant unveils Office 365 cloud-hosted productivity suite for SMBs and enterprise
Microsoft has unveiled Office 365, a cloud-hosted productivity suite bringing together SharePoint, Exchange, and its Office software.
The SMB edition will cost $6 a month per person, and is for companies up to 25 employees. It includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online - Microsoft's rebranded unified communications and video conferencing system - as well as Office Web Apps, but not a full version of the productivity suite.
The SMB version also offers website hosting and an intranet, both using SharePoint, and promises 99.9% uptime.
The enterprise edition of Office 365 will cost between $2 a month per user for basic email to $27 a month for the full suite. Companies can pick and choose what's included for each employee, giving only email to some or more features to others, depending on what they need.
"When it comes to the enterprise, one size does not fit all,” said Chris Capossela, senior vice president for Microsoft's Office division.
The enterprise version includes the option of a download copy of Office Professional Plus, marking the first time Microsoft has made it available on a pay-as-you-go basis.
While everything will be hosted by Microsoft, IT admins will still have access, Capossela claimed. “We give IT professionals a lot of control over how the cloud service works... it's almost as if they were running the servers on premise themselves.”
The system will work in any browser, Microsoft said, and be accessible via any phone with Active Sync.
A limited beta is going live today across 13 countries, including the US and Australia, while the finished product will be available sometime next year.