Our customers will soon have the ability to purchase and use SharePoint environment that's hosted by Microsoft.  User identities can be synchronized with corporate Active Directory and SharePoint Online.  This will make the online SharePoint act as if its on premise.  Functionality is equivalent to SharePoint standard functionality.

Few Benefits

  1. No need to purchase/lease/maintain hardware and operating system.
  2. No need to worry about anti virus software.
  3. Software updates are taken care of.  i.e Once Office 14 releases in 2009, you don't need to upgrade the environment.  Microsoft will upgrade for you.
  4. Time to market is super fast.  Microsoft can provision environment in a couple of days.
  5. Access to environment from inside and outside corporate network.
  6. Pay as you go.  Adjustable to business cycles.

Licensing: 

Office SharePoint Online Standard List Price USD $7.25 (Montly per User).  Very compelling solution!

Note:  I would recommended that Enterprise customer of Microsoft leverage the Enterprise Agreement benefits and purchase the step-up license for hosting.  This will give the company the flexibility to move from a hosted to inhouse and vise versa based on needs.  Please contact your Account Manager for details.

Also available SharePoint Online Deskless Worker.  Provides Read-Only access to information.

Official Website:  http://www.microsoft.com/online/sharepoint-online.mspx

Release Schedule:  Expected release Fall 2008.

Registration for Trial:  Visit https://mocp.microsoftonline.com and complete the registration.  Disregard the "we are full" disclaimer.  Your account should be provisioned within 3-5 days.