Microsoft Corp. Introduces web-based package

Microsoft Corp. launched a web-based package of its Office Suite on Tuesday in order to strengthen its efforts in the fast-growing cloud software market.

Chief Executive Officer Steven Ballmer, announced the offering at a press event in New York’s SoHo district on Tuesday morning and announced that the new subscription-based service could be used in all small and mid-sized businesses that were unable to purchase more traditional licenses for the company’s software products and have resources scarity,

Office 365 offers its  users with instant messaging and other real-time communication tools. Office 365 is integrated into Apple Inc.’s iPhones, Windows and Android phones, and would be accessible on BlackBerrys by the end of the year.

Microsoft shares were trading at 1.2% at $25.50 in today’s afternoon session. The stock had gained nearly 4% in the previous session in anticipation of the announcement.

Microsoft has been converting forays into web-based office tools since 2005, with Energizer Holdings Inc. as its first cloud customer, but could not give tough compition to its rivals..

Eron Kelly, Microsoft’s senior director of product management said that the company has embraced cloud tools more aggressively,and  90% of Microsoft’s engineers are working on it as compared to 70% last year.

Analysts believe that  following the small business market approach was a smart marketing strategy  taken up by such companies.

Voce said that  Microsoft might have an edge being a key player as a office software provider having at least 70% share of the e-mail market for global corporations.

Companies are to pay monthly subscription between of $2 to $27 every month for tools they wish to use. John Betz, Microsoft director of product management, projected that most businesses pay $6 each month.

Millions of paying customers using another Microsoft work collaboration package called the Business Productivity Online Standard Suite will switch over to Office 365. That older package are to be removed over the next few years as Microsoft directs more of its focus on the cloud.

Office 365, which has been in beta since October 2010, has seen about 70% of its beta testers come from small and mid-sized businesses, the company said. 200,000 organizations took part in the pilot.


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