MS Office set for cloud launch

Friday 1 July 2011


Software giant Microsoft are launching a cloud-based software-as-a-service version of Microsoft Office. This new service, called Office 365 offers online collaboration by putting MS Outlook, Word and Excel in the cloud.

This will allow users to access their favourite Microsoft programs via a range devices including laptops, tablets, smartphones and desktop PC’s with the aim of rivalling Google and other providers who offer web-based business software.

The service is charged based on the number of employees per business, so for example, smaller businesses with less than 25 employees will pay £4 per user, per month, compared to larger companies that can pay anything up to £17.75 per user, per month, but the more you pay, the features you will have access to, including advanced archiving, messaging and unlimited storage.

Office 365 users have the choice to host their software using Microsoft’s own data centres and dedicated servers or they can install it on their own hardware in a separate data centre. It also will replace Microsoft”s current web-based offering for firms known as the Business Productivity Online Standard Suite.

Experts believe that by putting their biggest software product in the cloud, it could be a major gamble by Microsoft as a large amount of their revenue comes from sales of the office software being pre-installed on desktop PC’s. By switching to a cloud based, software as a service model, it could seriously hurt the cash flow which makes up about one-third of the company’s revenue. But with the growing presence of Google and others taking business away from Microsoft, a web based version is essential as more products and services are moving to the cloud.

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