Microsoft puts Office in cloud

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Microsoft puts Office in cloud

Worldwide by 2011.

Microsoft has announced Microsoft Office 365, promising to deliver Office desktop software as a pay-as-you-go cloud service at some stage next year.

Office 365 included Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online (Live Meeting).

It would be sold in Australia through partners, including on Telstra's T-Suite platform, and through enterprise dgreements "direct from Microsoft", the company said in a local statement today.

The Redmond giant planned to announce later today the 13 countries and regions that would have access to its beta version of the cloud service.

But, at this stage, it has only released entry pricing for some of the products for the US and European markets.

Companies with fewer than 25 employees could run Office Web Apps, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and an external website for US$6 ($6.20) or 5.25 euros ($7.45) a user a month, it said.

Mid and large-sized businesses, including government agencies, would be able to access 365 services from US$2 a user a month.

But the rate for its most widely known product, Microsoft Office, would cost US$24 (AU$24.70) or 22.75 euros (AU$32) a user a month for the Professional Plus edition, it said.

The product could include email, voicemail, enterprise social networking, instant messaging, web portals, extranets, voice and video conferencing and around the clock support.

"With Office 365, your local bakery can get enterprise-calibre software and services for the first time," Kurt DelBene, president of the Office division at Microsoft said in a statement.

"[A] multinational pharmaceutical company can reduce costs and more easily stay current with the latest innovations."

Microsoft said it would make the product available to 40 countries by 2011.

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