Microsoft to Expand Microsoft Online Services for Businesses of All Sizes
March 02, 2008
Exchange Online and SharePoint Online enter beta.

REDMOND, Wash. — March 2, 2008 — Monday from the annual Microsoft Office SharePoint Conference, Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., will announce that the company will offer Microsoft Online Services to businesses of all sizes. This announcement marks a significant step for Microsoft toward expanding its software plus services strategy.

“The combination of software plus services gives customers advanced choice and flexibility in how they access and manage software,” Gates said. “With Microsoft Online Services, businesses can deploy software as a subscription service, from servers they manage on-site, or a combination of the two, depending on their specific needs. In the future, customers and partners should expect to see this kind of choice and flexibility for all of Microsoft’s software and server products.”

Today Microsoft also opened a limited beta trial of the new services; U.S.-based companies can register for the trial. The new services are scheduled to be generally available to businesses of all sizes in the second half of the year.

Based on the proven, business-class software available in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, the new services enable businesses to access e-mail, calendaring, contacts, shared workspaces, and web conferencing and video conferencing over the Web. The new services are managed through a single Web-based interface, designed to meet the needs of IT professionals. Through this security-enhanced interface, IT professionals can monitor the performance of the services, add and configure users, submit and track support requests, and manage users and licenses.

Enterprise Foundation

Gates on Future of SharePoint

Bill Gates talks about SharePoint, Enterprise Search and Microsoft’s cloud computing strategy.

Watch the video (.wmv, 6 min 47 sec)

In September, Microsoft announced the worldwide availability of Microsoft Online Services for businesses with more than 5,000 users. Today’s announcement extends the same performance, scalability, security and service level capabilities to all businesses.

Autodesk Inc., Blockbuster Inc., Ceridian Corp., Coca-Cola Enterprises, Energizer Holdings Inc., Ingersoll-Rand Company Ltd., PFT-Medway and XL Capital group of companies are among the first companies moving their communications and collaborations solutions to Microsoft Online Services.

“To become the best beverage sales and customer service company, we must drive efficiency and effectiveness throughout our company while significantly increasing opportunities for collaboration among employees, customers and suppliers,” said John Brock, president and chief executive officer, Coca-Cola Enterprises. “By working with a world-class leader like Microsoft to leverage the power of software plus services, we can continue to drive innovation throughout our organization and more effectively address the complexities of today’s global business environment.”

Flexible Licensing Model

To help companies take advantage of Microsoft Online Services, Microsoft introduced a new licensing model with flexible options for customers.

New customers and customers without Microsoft Software Assurance can purchase Microsoft Online Services as a per-user subscription. Existing customers with Software Assurance on their Microsoft Client Access Licenses can purchase a user subscription at a discount, enabling them to maximize their existing Microsoft software investments. Customers with a subscription have rights to both Microsoft Online Services and to access on-premises server software, giving them the ability to blend Web-based services with on-premises software.

Microsoft will offer Exchange Online and SharePoint Online together with Office Communications Online and Office Live Meeting as a suite of services or as individual service offerings.

Expanding Partner Opportunities

Microsoft Online Services create new opportunities for partners to resell, customize and provide consulting, migration and managed services for customers. Atos Origin S.A., BT, Ceryx Inc., Evolve Partners Inc., Getronics NV, HCL Technologies Ltd., and Unisys Corp. are among the first partners to announce they will support Microsoft Online Services and provide offerings based on the new services.

“Microsoft Online Services provide partners with opportunities to expand reach, grow revenue and increase speed to sales and implementation,” said Chris Capossela, senior vice president of the Information Worker Product Management Group at Microsoft. “By extending our enterprise software offerings as a subscription service, our partners have the ability to develop and deliver new services with little overhead but maximum revenue potential.”

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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