Microsoft Releases Next-Generation Office 365 for Business

Feb 27, 2013, 10:30 ET from Microsoft Canada Co.

Wave of continued customer momentum underscores demand for new cloud service

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Feb. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Microsoft Corp. today announced general availability of a major new update to its Microsoft Office 365 services for business. Microsoft's most complete Office cloud service to-date has new features and offerings tailored to the needs and budgets of small, medium and large organizations. In addition to updated Microsoft Lync Online, Exchange Online and SharePoint Online services, business users can now get the full-featured, rich Office applications they are familiar with, on up to five devices, delivered as an always up-to-date cloud service. Office 365 features enhanced enterprise social capabilities with SharePoint and Yammer today, and Lync-Skype connectivity for presence, IM, and voice by June. The new Office 365 service is available today in 87 markets and 20 languages and an additional 20 markets and 16 languages in the second quarter of this year.

"With Office 365, everyone from large enterprises to small businesses to individual consumers can now benefit from the power of Office and the connectivity of the cloud," said Jason Brommet, Group Manager of Office, Microsoft Canada  "This release unlocks new scenarios and delivers capabilities that far surpass anything available in browser-only solutions."

Since launching in mid-2011, Office 365 is one of the fastest growing businesses in Microsoft history. After only 18 months, one in five of Microsoft's enterprise customers now has the paid service, up from one in seven a year ago. The number of small and medium sized businesses using Office 365 has also grown by 150% in the last 12 months. Here in Canada, businesses and organizations are adopting Office 365 to stay connected, stay current and stay competitive.

For Vancouver-based Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Office 365 is bringing big benefits to the organization.  "With over 170 franchises across North America, easily accessible and reliable communications is key to our success," said John Felice, Vice President, Franchise Operations, Expedia CruiseShipCenters.  "As the business grew, we needed to re-evaluate our existing email infrastructure to accommodate. We saw this as the opportune time to start to move our email and support resources to the cloud, implementing the email features of Office 365 to streamline communications and management and reduce costs.  Moving forward, we're looking to adopt additional features of the Office 365 suite including SharePoint for our intranet."

At Queen's University in Kingston, Office 365 has just been rolled out to almost 50,000 undergraduate students. "Office 365 is offering our students the tools they need to succeed in the classroom and eventually the boardroom, training them on the productivity suites which are standard for business today," said Keith McWhirter, IT Manager, Queen's University. "The safety and security of Office 365, combined with the savings we're seeing from moving to the cloud, make this move a win all around. The suite's robust functionality, seamless mobile integration and near 100% uptime are an excellent fit for the needs of our stakeholders."

New Office 365 Offerings Tailored for Customer Needs

Today, Microsoft is announcing a new set of Office 365 offerings designed to meet a broad variety of business requirements:

  • Office 365 ProPlus - Office 365 ProPlus includes the latest and most complete set of fully featured, rich Office applications delivered as a service: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, InfoPath, Access and Lync. It works on up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs and Macs. People can now simply sign in to Office 365 from any of their devices, and their documents and personalized settings roam with them, allowing them to quickly pick up right where they left off.  IT departments also get the controls they need including the ability to run Office 365 ProPlus side-by-side with other versions of Office, and tools to streamline and manage updates for their users.
  • Office 365 Midsize Business - designed for medium sized businesses with 10 to 250 employees. In addition to Office 365 ProPlus, this service provides midsize businesses with the enterprise-quality communication and collaboration tools they want - along with the simplified IT tools they need to maintain control while reducing complexity. Active Directory integration, a web-based administration console and business hours phone support are also included. Pricing is $184.80 per user for an annual subscription, the equivalent of $15.40 per user per month.
  • Office 365 Small Business Premium - designed for small businesses with 1 to 10 employees. In addition to the complete set of fully featured, rich Office applications, this service includes business grade email, shared calendars, website tools and HD video conferencing in an easy to manage service that doesn't require IT expertise. Pricing is $160.80 per user for an annual subscription, the equivalent of $13.40 per user per month. It is also available for $16.10 on a monthly plan.

The new Office now available for everyone  

With today's general availability of Office 365 for all businesses the new Office is now fully available to businesses, academic institutions and consumers. In addition to the business services announced today, on January 29 we launched Office 365 Home Premium, and updated versions of our traditional Office suite and servers.

Customers can purchase Office directly from Microsoft or through an authorized retail outlet or partner. For more information on Office, please visit: to sign up for a free trial.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

SOURCE Microsoft Canada Co.