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Microsoft announces Office 365
Posted on 20-Oct-2010 08:07 | Tags Filed under: News

Microsoft New Zealand has confirmed the launch of Office 365, the company’s next generation in cloud productivity that brings together Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service.

Office 365 makes it easier for organisations of all sizes to access and use Microsoft’s business productivity solutions via the cloud. With Office 365, people can work together more easily from anywhere on virtually any device, to simply and securely collaborate with others inside and outside their organisation.

Moving to the cloud with Office 365 means people don’t have to change the way they work, because Office 365 works with the most popular browsers, smartphones and desktop applications people use today.

“Office 365 is the best of everything we know about productivity, in a single cloud service, all for a predictable monthly cost,” says Anne Taylor, Information Worker Business Group Manager, Microsoft New Zealand.

“Office 365 makes it possible for small owner-operated businesses to get enterprise-calibre software and services for the first time, and helps multi-nationals reduce costs and stay current with the latest innovations. Best of all, their employees don’t have to change the way they work because they can use familiar applications like Office, allowing them to focus on their business, while we and our partners take care of the technology.”

Microsoft worked closely with existing customers to develop Office 365, resulting in a cloud service that is designed to meet a wide range of customer needs.

Rod Drury, founder and CEO of online accounting software firm Xero, has redefined the way businesses manage their finances by using the ‘software-as-a-service’ model to allow access to up-to-date financial records in real-time, stored in the cloud.

“Cloud technology is essential to improving the productivity of New Zealand businesses. The launch of Microsoft Office 365 is going to make it even easier for Kiwi businesses to embrace all the benefits cloud computing can offer. With Office 365, small businesses will be able to access enterprise class email and document management, tools that up until now you would only expect to see in a large corporation, at a commoditised price, providing them with a competitive edge to take their business to the next level,” says Rod.

With Office 365 for small businesses, professionals and companies with fewer than 25 employees can be up and running with Office Web Apps, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and an external website in just 15 minutes, for $9.25 per user per month.

“It is encouraging that Microsoft is progressing forward with the Business Productivity Online Suite in a structured release, demonstrating a commitment to innovation and a solid road map for the services. This is crucial for enterprise customers moving to the cloud so they have certainty around the services they are buying. This is a strong differentiator against its current market competition, which appears to release functionality in an ad hoc fashion. The improvements around user authentication will allow Provoke to deliver Office 365 to the Citrix customer base which will allow those customers to benefit from the lower costs associated with cloud solutions,” says Brendon Ford, CTO of online solution consultancy Provoke.

With Office 365, existing customers of Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite get upgraded versions of SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online; new administration controls; and the ability to more easily sign-in and share content securely with partners, all for a list price of $15.25 per user per month.

Office 365 for enterprises also includes the option to use Office Professional Plus desktop software on a pay-as-you go basis, for the first time ever. For $38.25 per user per month, organisations can get Office Professional Plus along with email, voicemail, enterprise social networking, instant messaging, Web portals, extranets, voice and video conferencing, web conferencing, 24/7 phone support, on-premises licenses and more.

Microsoft Office 365 will be available worldwide next year. Starting today, Microsoft will begin testing Office 365 with a few thousand organisations in thirteen countries around the world, and the beta will be expanded to include more organisations over time. Office 365 will be generally available in 40 countries and regions next year.

Later next year, Office 365 will expand to include Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to provide Microsoft’s complete business productivity experience to organisations of all types and sizes. In addition, Microsoft Office 365 for education will debut later next year, giving students, faculty and school employees powerful technology tailored specifically to their needs.

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