Last year, Microsoft introduced Office 365 in limited beta. Now the company has announced the public beta, expanding it into nearly twice as many countries and languages (38 markets and 17 lanugages).
Office 365 brings together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in a cloud-based service. "More than 100,000 organizations, from independent professionals to large enterprises, have signed up to test it," a spokesperson for Microsoft tells WebProNews. "70% of the organizations that signed up for the limited beta were small businesses."
Microsoft has also launched a contest, where five businesses have the chance to win Office 365, a $50,000 marketing package, and a day’s work from a Microsoft executive at the winner’s business or charity of choice. To enter, businesses must share "inspiring stories" on the Office 365 Facebook page.
http://bit.ly/hYKoZc Public Beta begins today, so secure your spot in the beta at www.office365.com, or if you have already signed up, hold tight because your invite is coming soon! In the meatime, check out our contest and share your inspiring story for a chance at $50,000! http://on.fb.me/dL3grjMicrosoft Office 365 is Ready for Work!
There are two versions of Office 365 Beta: Small Business and Enterprise. The small business version is for organizations with up to 25 employees.
Microsoft also unveiled the Office 365 Marketplace for apps and services. It opened with 100 apps and 400 services from 16,000 Microsoft cloud partners.
Interestingly, there is some concern out there that Office 365 will put some IT people out of jobs.
Office 365 will launch worldwide later this year.
Expect the Google vs. Microsoft competition in the business productivity app area to get more intense.