This great news just arrived in my inbox from Kurt DelBene…  I have been working with the Beta of Office 365 for a little under 12 months now and its great to finally see it unleashed upon the world! Smile

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Office 365:  Open for Business

Today, I’m proud to announce that we launched our cloud services for productivity - Office 365 - in 20 languages and 40 markets around the world. For the first time, businesses of all sizes have a chance to realize new potential for collaboration with the Microsoft Office 2010 solutions. Steve Ballmer joined press and customers in New York City earlier today, to keynote the official Office 365 GA announcement. Launch events are also happening in London, Singapore, Tokyo and 20 more countries around the globe over the next 48 hours.

What’s Different with Office 365?

Office is at the center of collaboration for most businesses today. For customers who use Office and our other 2010 solutions together, satisfaction is at an all-time high. But if you’re not an enterprise, chances are you haven’t had this experience. Office 365 brings our full information worker capabilities to businesses of all sizes.   It has Office at its core, and brings together SharePoint, Exchange and Lync in an always-up-to-date cloud service, for a predictable monthly price. It is backed by Microsoft, and delivered to customers with some of the best partners in the world.

Customers are excited - Office 365 has a range of service plans, so customers buy just what they need. And because Office 365 is a complete offer, it gives smaller customers a productivity edge that big businesses have had for years.

Partners are excited too. Advisor partners have been investing in the opportunity they see to assist customers with planning migration, deployment, support, and value added services, as well as development of leading-edge cloud application solutions. There are new opportunities for global service providers like Telstra and Vodafone, who will announce plans to bring Office 365 to their customers this year by packaging it with their existing web hosting, internet connectivity, and mobile phone services.

Transforming our Business for the Cloud

Office 365 represents a transformation. The Office Division’s mission is to deliver the best end user productivity experience across the PC, phone and browser, while providing our customers with choice and flexibility for how they deploy, whether that be in the cloud, on premises, or a combination of the two.

Office 365 is an important step in that mission. Over the last nine months, we’ve delivered a limited beta that was oversubscribed within 24 hours, and a public beta tested by more than 200,000 businesses.

Office 365 would not be possible without deep partnerships across Microsoft.  Thank you and congratulations - to engineering, marketing, operations, finance, support, and field organizations – you’ve helped us take our vision for productivity to the cloud and do so in a way no one else can, by delivering the productivity products and scenarios our customers already know and love.

Kurt

For more details on today’s announcement, including Steve B’s launch keynote, go to the Office 365 news center here: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/office/

Neil Johnson [neiljohn@microsoft.com]
Senior Consultant, Microsoft Consulting Services, UK