Microsoft Launches Cloud-Based Office 365
Less than a year ago, Microsoft announced that it would be rolling out Office 365, a suite of cloud-based word processing, presentation, spreadsheet, and office tools. Today, Office 365 is now live and ready for customers. The subscription-based service will provide:
- An installed copy of Office Professional Plus, for some plans.
- Exchange Online, which supplies email, calendar, 25gb of online storage space for mail, and address book functions.
- SharePoint, for online collaboration and document sharing.
- Lync Online, for web-based meetings with instant messaging and video conferencing.
- Office WebApps, for online editing and document creation with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft OneNote
In addition to these services, the Office 365 website points out that users will have access to 24-hour tech and IT support with the service. Considering that Office 365 is targeted squarely at businesses of various sizes, this could be a major selling point for would-be users. Interestingly, Office 365 will be sold by subscription, with different price tiers depending on the size of the customer’s business.
The launch of Office 365 now has all the big three major players in the tech industry — Apple, Google, and Microsoft — betting heavily on a cloud-based future. Google has by far done the most work with cloud concepts, going so far as to create special Chromebook laptops. Though Google does offer their office services to businesses, Microsoft is in a good position to leverage its popularity in that market to sell Office 365 to existing users. This leaves Apple, which has shied away from pushing into the business market with their forth-coming iCloud service, focusing instead on individual users.
How this will all shake out is anyone’s guess, but today’s announcement only cement the fact that the future will be on the cloud.