Microsoft Appeals To Small Business Customers With Office 365
Written by Jenna Weiner
Microsoft's cloud-based Office 365 could be a game-changer for small businesses.
The launch of Microsoft's cloud-based Office 365 service is not exclusively news for small businesses, but small businesses were clearly the target audience for the service's official unveiling on June 28.
While Microsoft was careful to stipulate Office 365 will meet the needs of any size enterprise, the company's press release also repeatedly touted the particular benefits of the service for small businesses. Elia Wallen, owner of the 35-employee temporary housing provider Travelers Haven, was quoted as saying the cloud service, which combines Microsoft's Office, SharePoint, Exchange and Lync programs, will save his company $100,000 annually. According to Microsoft, Office 365 will cost between $2 and $27 per user per month, depending on the service plan. As the Seattle Times notes, this puts it in competition with Google Apps and Docs, which costs businesses about $50 per user per year.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Office 365 "levels the playing field" by allowing small businesses to collaborate as efficiently as big businesses have been able to.
Bell Canada, Intuit and Vodafone are among the providers Microsoft says will package and sell Office 365 along with their own small business-related products. According to a recent IDC market analysis, the cloud computing business will grow from $5.2 billion this year to $9.4 billion in 2015.
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