Microsoft has officially launched its Office cloud service. The new platform is seen as a direct rival to companies already providing online office facilities such as Google Docs. The product will be known as Office 365 and will feature standard office features such as word processors, spreadsheet creators and e-mail.
The new ‘Office 365′ platform will be accessible on PC desktops, tablets, laptops and RIM, Apple, Microsoft and Android smartphones. Charges for the service will be based upon the business itself. For small business (below 25 employees) the price will be around £4 per user a month. The web based Office is supposedly designed to make collaborative working easier.
This is because users can access the files from a multitude of places on various devices. Integrated e-mail and Microsoft’s Lync messaging and communications system will also aid communication between users themselves.
However, the launch has been met with some criticism. Chiefly from Google’s apps manager Shan Sinha, who wrote a blog entitled “365 reasons to consider Google Apps” about the release of the Microsoft product.
Speaking of Office 365 within the blog Sinha stated: “Office 365 is for individuals. Apps is for teams. You don’t need to buy additional licenses to work with others, or hope people outside your company have upgraded to the same software. If you have a Google account, you can collaborate”.
Google Docs already has a large share in the cloud based office programs market. It has spent time establishing itself as a quality office platform that is used by a diverse range of companies. The sense of brand trust Google has created will be Microsoft’s biggest stumbling block following the release of Office 365.