Today at 7 a.m. in New York Steve Ballmer announced during a press event details on Microsoft Office 365 pricing and some of its main key features. This new service will allow you to access Exchange email, Office Web apps and so much more via Cloud — it shows that the future of Cloud Computing is finally moving up a gear.
This new service will be in direct competition with Google Apps, but Microsoft seems to have been beaten on price, as the former is $5 per user and the latter $6. However, you would presume that you would get more from Office 365, as they have been offering Office Suites for some time now.
Microsoft Office 365 looks to have borrowed something that we associate with the sell phone market, and that is because this is a pay-as-you-go subscription service. You can choose to sign-up to a 30-day free trial — just like you can with any main Microsoft Office program. Once the 30-day trial is over you either have the choice to stop using or then go onto subscribe.
Some of the key features are: 25GB mailbox storage, online document viewing, file formatting from desktop Office, design and maintain public websites, instant messaging, antivirus and anti-spam filtering and so much more. You get all this for just $6 per month for each user. That price is if you opt for the Professionals and Small Businesses package.
If you are a Midsize Business or Enterprise user then the pricing plan changes. For Enterprise users there are four tiers, these are E1, E2, E3 and E4. The prices for these are $10, $16, $24 and $27 respectively each month. These give you a number of extra features. Kiosk Worker plans are different again, with a choice of two packages, K1 for $4 per month and K2 for $10.
Some of you might have trouble knowing which package to go for, which is where Microsoft comes in. Not only will they help you choose they might also be able to offer you a discount for volume licensing.
If you would much prefer to do the homework yourself, then you can download the buyers guide to the Enterprise version of Office 365. You have access to some valuable information, some of which you would often have to pay an expert for. For full details visit Microsoft.
We now just have to wait and see how Microsoft Office 365 is able to compete with Google Apps.