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Monday, April 18, 2011

Microsoft Office 365 Beta

Microsoft has launched the public beta of the highly-anticipated Office 365. There is a lot to like about the cloud-based suite, but one of the most compelling features of the service might just be the price. Starting at $6 per seat per month, Office 365 is almost a no-brainer for small and medium companies. Organizations with fewer than 50 users typically don't have a dedicated IT administrator. For $72 per user per year, these companies get the benefit of Exchange e-mail, Lync instant messaging, SharePoint collaboration, and the Office Web Apps productivity suite. Even the largest organizations could operate more efficiently, and cut costs at the same time by adopting Office 365.

Office 365 Enterprise offers a range of service plans from $4 per user per month, up to $27 per user per month. Assuming a company of 1000 users, you are talking about an investment of $27,000 per month for the top-of-the-line Office 365 Enterprise service--or nearly $325,000 a year. It looks like a big number by itself, but if you stack it against the math from the last paragraph, suddenly it seems like Microsoft is giving Office 365 away, or even paying you to use it.

You get all of the productivity benefits of the Microsoft productivity and communications tools, while leaving the backend headaches and tedium to Microsoft. Microsoft will deliver Office 365 from geographically disperse, fully redundant sites providing reliable availability and resiliency that Microsoft guarantees with a financially-backed 99.9 uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA).

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