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Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 is secure anywhere access to professional email, shared calendars, IM, online conferencing, and collaboration on documents.

Here's a quick rundown of what Office 365 offers so you can judge if it's the right fit for you.

  • Productivity and Collaboration

Office 365 provides different web apps that allow users to edit Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents from their browsers. One feature called SharePoint is a team site that lets multiple users work collaboratively on the same document at the same time.


  • E-Mail and Planning

Users familiar with Microsoft Outlook or Entourage should feel at home with Office 365's email and planning service, Exchange Online. Users will be able to access their emails, contact lists and calendars from their computers or smartphones, while Microsoft promises protection against viruses and 25 GB of storage per user, with the ability to send file attachments up to 35 MB.

Users will be able to access Exchange Online from the iPhone, Android phones, Symbian phones, BlackBerry smartphones (touting push notifications), Windows Mobile and Windows Phones.

  • Communication

Lync Online is Microsoft's communication tool for small businesses, offering a lot of features that Skype, AIM and Google Chat already utilize with instant messaging, video calls and the ability to host online meetings.

You'll be able to share documents via a virtual white board, and small businesses will be able to control the level of permissions they grant their employees. Could be useful, especially if you want to keep employee instant messaging in-company only.

  • Pricing and Conclusions

Microsoft is charging $10 per month per user for small businesses of 25 employees or less.

Larger businesses can choose premium plans that range from $10 to $27 per month per user with more features offered as you go up the ladder.

They are promising 99.9% uptime for their servers, and will offer customer support as another incentive to make the switch from Google Docs, where customer service is not exactly Google's strong point.

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