Microsoft Corp. today announced that Microsoft Office 365, the company’s next-generation cloud productivity service for businesses of all sizes, is available for trial in Saudi Arabia. The company also announced the first major service update for Office 365 and showcased new customers to the service.
Office 365 brings together Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service. The public trial that starts today allows businesses and consumers in Saudi Arabia to try Office 365 for the first time.
“We’ve been in the cloud for years supporting large enterprises such as Shell and DuPont, but Office 365 takes that same enterprise power and delivers it for small businesses,” said Samir No’man, President of Microsoft in Saudi Arabia. “They can now get the same powerful technology capabilities to match their business ambitions.”
With Office 365, moving to the cloud does not require people to change the way they work because it’s based on the familiar, industry-leading productivity tools people know and trust. Employees get new ways to work together with ease, on virtually any device or mobile phone, using familiar applications, such as Office, that they already know and love. Business owners get the reliability, security features and IT controls they need in the cloud.
Small Businesses and Big Brands Bet on Office 365
More and more large global companies are choosing Office 365 to enable their employees and customers to work together in the cloud. In fact, more than 40 percent of the global Interbrand list of the 100 top brands use Office 365 or related cloud productivity services from Microsoft. Among the new customers are Campbell Soup Company and Groupe Marie-Claire, which have recently chosen Office 365 to reap the benefits of cloud productivity.
“Office 365 is key to our plans to propel our employees to next-generation innovation in productivity technologies, at a very rapid pace,” said Joe Spagnoletti, senior vice president and chief information officer at Campbell Soup Company. “We’re betting on the cloud — and Office 365 — as we prepare to build a highly collaborative workplace where employees across our global offices can all work together and communicate in a seamless fashion.”
Groupe Marie-Claire, a leading fashion magazine published in more than 30 countries, will use Office 365 to modernize the company’s email and collaboration capabilities, while moving away from a costly and inefficient legacy technology. Employees at Groupe Marie-Claire will be able to access email and share documents on a PC, Mac or various mobile devices with Office 365.
“We thoroughly evaluated other cloud productivity offerings in the market before choosing Microsoft. Office 365 is the right choice to help our company support the way people work today and encourage a more mobile work environment,” said Philippe Chapier, IT manager for Groupe Marie-Claire. “With the service, we have the added benefit of working together with familiar tools on almost any device and can make quicker decisions when needed.”
Rapid Cloud Evolution
Microsoft is also making more than 30 new updates to Office 365 to enhance collaboration and communication, and for SkyDrive, adding simple app-centric sharing for Office, powerful file management and easier uploads with HTML5 based largely on customer feedback. Key new features and enhancements include the following:
Support for Lync for Mac. Mac users can now use instant messaging, presence and videoconferencing through Office 365.
New SharePoint Business Connectivity Services, which allow people to connect to information in their company’s critical line-of-business applications, such as customer relationship management or SAP software.
Support for Windows Phone 7.5. Starting today, people can access and update documents in SharePoint Online from anywhere using their Windows Phone.
SkyDrive gets simpler app-centric sharing for Office, powerful file management and easier uploads with HTML5. Share any Office document in one click. Work together more easily with any contact — across email services and connected networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Powerful tools to manage and organize files quickly. Drag and drop multiple files to upload across browsers on PC and Mac.
“Today’s news illustrates how we’re executing like never before in the cloud with more customers, capabilities and commitment than anyone in the industry. All this while others search for their focus,” said Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president, Microsoft Office Division.
About Office 365
With Office 365, professionals and small businesses can be up and running with Office Web Apps, Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Lync Online and an external website in just 15 minutes, for $6 (U.S.) or 22.5 Riyals per user, per month.
Office 365 for enterprises has an array of choices for midsize and large businesses, as well as government organizations, starting for as little as $2 (U.S.) or 7 Riyals per user, per month for basic email. Office 365 for enterprises also includes the option to purchase Microsoft Office Professional Plus desktop software on a pay-as-you-go basis, for the first time ever. For $24 (U.S.) or 90 Riyals per user, per month, organizations can get Office Professional Plus, along with email, voicemail, enterprise social networking, instant messaging, Web portals, extranets, videoconferencing, web-conferencing, on-premises licenses, and 24/7 phone support.