Back in October 2010, Kurt DelBene, president, Microsoft Office Division, and Chris Capossela, vice president, Microsoft Office Division, announced Office 365, Microsoft's next generation productivity service which was initially available as a closed Beta. It brings together Office, SharePoint, Exchange and Lync in an always-up-to-date cloud service and today, Microsoft announced the public Beta of Microsoft Office 365. The public Beta allows millions of people in more countries and more languages - a total of 38 markets and 17 languages in all - to try Office 365 for the first time.
Microsoft today also introduced the Office 365 Marketplace, providing a simple way for customers to find apps and services when they want to extend and customize Office 365. The Marketplace is now live with over 100 apps and 400 professional services, available from the established community of more than 16,000 Microsoft cloud partners - with new apps and services to be added over time.
After the public Beta, Office 365 will transform into a pay-service and according to Microsoft German, monthly costs are starting at 5.25 Euro per user. And following Microsoft's three screen strategy, Office 365 will also be available from Windows Phone - in this case through the phone's Office Hub where Windows Phone syncs against a SharePoint server which makes Office 365 documents available on each connected Windows Phone 7 device.
However, even if it sounds like a great alternative to Google Docs, end-users should keep in mind that Microsoft Office 365 isn't designed form them but for small and medium business as well as for large corporate. It's not Microsoft's answer to Google's free consumer service.
Cheers ~ Arne