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Wednesday, February 27, 2013
 Microsoft Releases Office 365 for Business
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Message Text: Microsoft today announced worldwide availability of a major update to its Microsoft Office 365 services for business.

Microsoft's most complete Office cloud service to date has new features and offerings tailored to the needs and budgets of small, medium-size and large organizations. In addition to updated Microsoft Lync Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft SharePoint Online services, business users can now get the Office applications they are familiar with, on up to five devices, delivered as an always up-to-date cloud service. Office 365 features enterprise social capabilities with SharePoint and Yammer today, and Lync-Skype connectivity for presence, instant messaging (IM), and voice by June. The new Office 365 service is available today in 69 markets and 17 languages and will be available in an additional 20 markets and 16 languages in the second quarter of this year.

Microsoft announced a new set of Office 365 offerings designed to meet a broad variety of business requirements:

- Office 365 ProPlus. Office 365 ProPlus includes the latest and most complete set of Office applications - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, InfoPath and Access - delivered as a service, on up to five devices. People can now simply sign in to Office 365 from any of their devices, and their documents and personalized settings roam with them, allowing them to quickly pick up right where they left off. IT departments also get the controls they need, including the ability to run Office 365 ProPlus side-by-side with other versions of Office and tools to streamline and manage updates for their users. Office 365 ProPlus is available as a standalone offering for $144 per user for an annual subscription and is included with the updated premium Office 365 Enterprise offerings and the new Office 365 Midsize Business.

- Office 365 Midsize Business. Office 365 Midsize Business is designed for medium-sized businesses with 10 to 250 employees. This service includes Office 365 ProPlus and provides midsize businesses with enterprise-quality communication and collaboration with Exchange Online, Lync Online and SharePoint Online. Active Directory integration, a Web-based administration console and business-hours phone support are also included. Pricing is $180 per user for an annual subscription, the equivalent of $15 per user, per month.

- Office 365 Small Business Premium. Office 365 Small Business Premium is designed for small businesses with one to 10 employees. In addition to the complete set of rich Office applications, this service includes business-grade email, shared calendars, website tools and HD videoconferencing capability in a service that does not require IT expertise. Pricing is $150 per user for an annual subscription, the equivalent of $12.50 per user, per month.

Microsoft said that since launching in mid-2011, Office 365 has been one of the fastest-growing businesses in Microsoft history. Today Microsoft announced three new customers - Hamburg Port Authority, which manages operations for Europe's second-largest port; Midroc Europe, a property development and management organization composed of 15 companies across Europe and South Africa; and Sephora USA Inc., a leading specialty beauty retailer.

On Jan. 29 Microsoft also launched Office 365 Home Premium and updated versions of the traditional Office suite and servers.
 
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