Microsoft is doing their best to compete with Google Apps with the launch of the new cloud service Office 365. The online office suite is targeted toward small- and medium-sized businesses, according to Microsoft.
With Office 365, users will have online access to collaborative tools like documents, spreadsheets and e-mail using both subscription desktop software and web-based applications. Microsoft's popular Office products like Word, Excel and Powerpoint will be available in an online version for a monthly subscription price.
The price for Office 365 is actually much more than Google Apps -- small businesses can sign on for 365 for $5 per user, per month. Medium-sized companies will have to pay between $10 to 27, depending on the size. Google Apps costs $5 per user per month, no matter the size of the company.
The pricing structure is suprising, given that Microsoft is trying to compete with Google -- what incentives do businesses have to adopt 365 over the less-expensive -- and proven effective -- Google Apps.
Also, Office 365 doesn't work on anything but Windows platforms.
"With Apps you can work with multiple people in the same document," Google Apps Product Manager Shan Sinha wrote Monday in a blog post. "There's no need to worry about whether or not it's possible to share a spreadsheet, or co-edit a presentation. You can see people type in real time, and share a file in just two clicks."
"We have a single, transparent, low price that meets everyone's needs, and it hasn't changed in 4 years," added Sinha. "No extras for basics like phone support and robust productivity apps. No long term contracts or opaque enterprise agreements."
It'll be interesting to see how Office 365 rolls out over time -- and if businesses will actually use it.
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