Microsoft releases Office 365 for public beta, plus apps store

18 Apr 2011

Microsoft’s next-generation cloud productivity service, Office 365, has been released for public Beta, including web versions of Microsoft Office, SharePoint, Exchange and its unified comms technology Lync.

The technology giant has revealed that so far more than 100,000 organisations – 70pc of them small businesses – have signed up to test the technology.

The public beta is available to millions of users in 37 countries and 17 languages, including Irish firms.

“We are excited that Office 365 beta gives Irish businesses an easy way to benefit from cloud computing and to gain new capabilities in unified communications directly from Microsoft Office,” commented Jeremy Showalter, business manager, Information Worker, Microsoft Ireland.

Office 365 Marketplace – apps for the cloud

Microsoft also unveiled the Office 365 Marketplace today, which gives customers a simple way to find partner apps and services for Office 365.

Office 365 for enterprises has an array of choices for mid-size and large businesses, as well as government organisations, starting for as little as €1.79 per user, per month for basic email.

Office 365 for enterprises also includes the option to purchase Microsoft Office Professional Plus desktop software on a pay-as-you-go basis, for the first time ever.

For €22.75 per user, per month, organisations can get Office Professional Plus, along with email, voicemail, enterprise social networking, instant messaging, web portals, extranets, video conferencing, web conferencing, 24/7 phone support and on-premises licences.

“Customers of all sizes are finding that the cloud gives them access to technologies they couldn’t have otherwise, Office 365 provides enterprise-grade apps and massive data centre capacity without upfront infrastructure investments,” explained Microsoft Partner, Derek Finnerty of Storm Technology.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years