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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Microsot Office 365 now in Public Beta

Microsoft has opened the tap on its cloud-based Office 365 and is now offering the service as a public beta for anyone to try out.

Available in 38 countries and in 17 languages, the new beta follows several months of limited testing among a couple thousand businesses that were able to kick the tires on the service. After the public beta, Office 365 will officially launch later this year.

Experts say MS Office 365 is far more than simply a Web version of Office 2010. Office 365 is a service comprised of cloud-based versions of Microsoft's four front-running business products.

A private beta of Office 365 has been initially launched by the company in October 2010 which was seen as an advancement of its web-based version of main business products like SharePoint, Office Lync Server.

The public beta comes in two packages: The first one offers a month-to-month deal for small business and provides access to these apps and Microsoft's community support site but does not include desktop Office clients or live support. The prices start at $6 per user per month for this package. The second plan is begins at a price of $24 per seat for enterprises with 24x7 admin support that offers advanced configuration with an annual contract. It provides subscription versions of Office 2010 for Windows and Active Directory Sync apart from the above.

In addition to targeting the business world, Microsoft is reaching out to the educational market with five different plans geared toward faculty, staff, and students.

Parties interested in the Office 365 beta can apply to join the beta test on Microsoft's site.

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