Microsoft has officially launched Office 365 globally. You know, the cloud service that’s supposed to kill Google Apps.
We’ll see about that. Interestingly, this comes the same day that Google launched its social network that is supposed to kill Facebook. Ok, Google never said that, and nobody really believes that will happen. Likewise, I doubt this will kill Google Apps, and I’m not sure Microsoft actually said that either, but it’s all about winning the minds of the public (and businesses), and these are the people that are saying such things. We shall see.
Office 365 is available in 40 markets. It brings together Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online, in what Microsoft calls “an always up-to-date” cloud service at a predictable monthly subscription.” It’s always nice to see the word “predictable” used when describing a new product.
It launched in limited beta last year, and then pubic beta in April. Now it’s arrived at prime time. The service plans range from $2 to $27 per user per month.
“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.”
The company also says:
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.
Office 365 can be tried for 30 days for free. You can sign up from office365.com or with a local Microsoft partner. A partners list is here.