Microsoft have now announced a beta of their Office 365product suite for businesses. The suite is the long anticipated hosted solution for exchange and sharepoint. In itself these hosted services will save a great many companies from having to purchase and maintain their own server rooms, but Office 365 brings much more to the table than just that.
“Office 365 is the best of everything we know about productivity, all in a single cloud service,” said Kurt DelBene, president of the Office Division at Microsoft. “With Office 365, your local bakery can get enterprise-caliber software and services for the first time, while a multinational pharmaceutical company can reduce costs and more easily stay current with the latest innovations. People can focus on their business, while we and our partners take care of the technology.”
The suite of Office 365 services at this point include copies of the Office Professional Plus desktop software, that has integration with the new Office Web Apps. Exchange and Sharepoint online are also part of the package. Finally a new service called Lync Online offers messaging and even video-conferencing services, again hosted form the cloud.
Microsoft say the key benefits of the new service are...
- Anywhere-access to email, documents, contacts, and calendars on nearly any device*
- Work seamlessly with Microsoft Office and the other programs your users already count on everyday
- Business-class features including IT-level phone support, guaranteed 99.9% uptime, geo-redundancy, and disaster recovery
- Pay-as-you-go pricing options which give you predictability and flexibility for all or part of your organization
- Latest version of Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), which has millions of business users today
The most important factor though will be the price. It could turn out that for small businesses with only a few seats this service could be quite expensive. There is a pricing document available here as a Word DOCX file, though it doesn't really seem to include any firm information about the overall cost to each type and size of business.
Regardless, there can be little doubt that any hosted business and productivity service can only be a great thing for businesses of many sizes and also for the environment. Imagine the effect this move will have on global warming where Microsoft will have a few, admittedly huge, server farms but that their capacity will only be increased to meet the overall demand for the product. At the same time, the number of small server rooms, all pumping out more CO2 than would be proportionate for the volume of work those servers are actually asked to do can shrink.
This can only be a good thing.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.