Microsoft Releases Next-Generation Office 365 for Business; Wave of continued customer momentum underscores demand for new cloud service
(M2 PressWIRE Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) REDMOND, Wash. -- -- Microsoft Corp. today announced worldwide availability of a major new 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 rich Office applications they are familiar with, on up to five devices, delivered as an always up-to-date cloud service. Office 365 features enhanced 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.
"With Office 365, everyone from large enterprises to small businesses to individual consumers can now benefit from the power of Office and the connectivity of the cloud," said Microsoft Office Division President Kurt DelBene. "This release unlocks new scenarios and delivers capabilities that far surpass anything available in browser-only solutions."
Since launching in mid-2011, Office 365 is one of the fastest-growing businesses in Microsoft history. After only 18 months, one in five of Microsoft's enterprise customers now has the paid service, up from one in seven a year ago. The number of small and midsize businesses using Office 365 has also grown by 150 percent in the past 12 months. Today Microsoft continued the wave of Office 365 momentum, announcing 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. These customers join others that are choosing Office 365 across business, public sector and education, including the State of Texas, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Helly Hansen, Tesco, Toyota, Barilla America Inc. and the City of Chicago.
"For Hamburg Port Authority, our typical day on ships and in the harbor is different from most companies, as are our technology and business needs," said Dr. Sebastian Saxe, chief information officer at Hamburg Port Authority. "Our workforce is mobile, so communication and access to information is critical for our 1,900 employees. Office 365 helps our team connect to the people and information that are important, while also reducing IT time on testing, installing and updating versions by 75 percent."
"At Toyota, we always strive to provide innovative products and exceptional customer satisfaction. We needed to improve our productivity service to support our business speed and demands as well as improve collaboration across our affiliates," said Karen Nocket, corporate manager, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. "We evaluated our options and found that Microsoft had the most robust, integrated suite with Office 365. It has the capabilities we need to excel in today's business environment, such as email, calendaring, video, IM and document sharing. Microsoft Office 365 is enabling us to make faster, unified decisions across Toyota."
More information on these customers and others is available at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/customer-stories.aspx..
New Office 365 Offerings Tailored for Customer Needs
Today, Microsoft is announcing a new set of Office 365 offerings designed to meet a broad variety of business requirements:
o Office 365 ProPlus. Office 365 ProPlus includes the latest and most complete set of fully featured, rich 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.
o 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 -- along with the simplified IT tools they need to maintain control while reducing complexity. 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.
o 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 an easy-to-manage 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.
The New Office Now Available for Everyone
With today's general availability of Office 365 for all businesses, the new Office is now fully available to businesses, academic institutions and consumers. In addition to the business services announced today, on Jan. 29 Microsoft launched Office 365 Home Premium and updated versions of the traditional Office suite and servers.
Customers can purchase Office directly from Microsoft or through an authorized retail outlet or partner. More information on Office and how to sign up for a free trial is available at http://www.office.com.
Microsoft will be holding a live webcast for customers today at 8 a.m. PST featuring DelBene and Microsoft Office Division Corporate Vice President John Case, along with customers the City of Chicago, Meals on Wheels Association of America and Toyota, which will share the vision and benefits of Office 365 for businesses. The webcast is available at https://vts.inxpo.com/Launch/QReg.htm ShowKey=12696&LangLocaleID=1033&AffiliateData=press release.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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