Microsoft has evolved their BPOS online services, now making Office 365 available for enterprise.
Microsoft has once again confirmed their intention to integrate cloud computing, an orientation started and developed by the now retiring Ray Ozzie. Targeting companies of varying size, Microsoft has announced an evolution of their Business Productivity Online Suite offer (BPOS), replaced by Office 365.
Office 365 is essentially based around the use of a cloud for Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online (intranet collaboration), Exchange Online (work group) and the recent Lync Online for unified communications. A beta program (limited) for Office 365 was launched with a few companies in 13 countries, with the scope to now be widened. Office 365 should become more widely available in 40 countries from next year.
For professionals and small companies of less than 25 employees, Office 365 allows access Office Web Apps, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and web site hosting all from a single account for $6 a month per user.
The more in depth you dig, the more options you find available. For large companies, Office 365 provides access to the Office Professional Plus 2010 suite on a pay-as-you-go basis for $24 a month per user. This is a strange mix of genres as this time we aren’t looking at cloud computing. In addition to Office Professional Plus 2010, access will also be made available to a company’s social network, voicemail, videoconferencing, etc.
Next year, the Office 365 services will also have Dynamic CRM Online options added to it (client relationship manager).
Office 365 is presenting itself as a viable alternative to Google Apps. Google Apps Premier Edition is available for $50 per user, per year.