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Office 365, the next major update to Microsoft Online Services, was announced today. Office 365 includes new versions of SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online (each based on the 2010 versions of those servers) as well as Office Professional Plus 2010 as part of the subscription.
You can watch the announcement here.
For ISVs, Office 365 is a great opportunity to create collaboration solutions that run in the cloud and reach more customers than ever before. Small and medium businesses that couldn’t afford the staff and infrastructure to run SharePoint, Exchange and Lync can now easily gain those capabilities by subscribing to Office 365. This gives ISVs a much larger audience for their solutions.
For solution integrators, Office 365 also creates a larger market for solutions as customers can divert resources normally used to administer hardware and software infrastructure towards creating collaboration solutions unique to serving their business.
For developers, Office 365 is a great opportunity to build collaboration solutions reusing the skills then already have creating solutions for SharePoint, Exchange and Lync and reusing the tools and platform they use today in Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework.
Office 365 for enterprises introduces an array of choices for midsize and large businesses as well as government organizations, starting for as little as $2 or 1.75 euros per user, per month for basic e-mail. Office 365 for enterprises also includes the option to get Microsoft Office Professional Plus desktop software on a pay-as-you-go basis, for the first time ever. For $24 or 22.75 euros per user, per month, organizations can get Office Professional Plus along with e-mail, voicemail, enterprise social networking, instant messaging, Web portals, extranets, voiceconferencing and videoconferencing, webconferencing, 24x7 phone support, on-premises licenses, and more.
For more information, see the announcement at Microsoft Announces Office 365.
Office 365 will be available worldwide next year. Starting today, Microsoft will begin testing Office 365 with a few thousand organizations in 13 countries and regions around the world, and the beta will be expanded to include more organizations 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 organizations of all types and sizes. In addition, Office 365 for education will debut later next year, giving students, faculty and school employees powerful technology tailored specifically to their needs.
Today at 12 p.m. PDT, Microsoft will launch http://www.Office365.com. Customers and partners can sign up for the Office 365 beta and learn more at that site, or follow Office 365 on Twitter (@Office365), Facebook (Office 365), or the new Office 365 blog at http://community.office365.com to get the latest information.
Bruce D. Kyle ISV Architect Evangelist | Microsoft Corporation