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10/21/2010
08:26 PM
Irwin Lazar
Irwin Lazar
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Microsoft Heads for The Cloud

Coming on the heels of enhancements to LotusLive, Microsoft has now unveiled "Office 365", the next generation of their former Business Productivity On-Line Services (BPOS). Microsoft's base offering starts at $24 per user per month and includes desktop productivity, web applications, Exchange on-line, SharePoint, Lync (IM/web conferencing), and both support and management functions. Existing BPOS customers get e-mail, SharePoint, and Lync for just $10 a month. Both offerings are highly competitive with those from Google and IBM (as well as Zoho), and offer significant opportunities for companies to reduce infrastructure and upgrade costs. We find that innterest in hosted messaging services is strong, with approximately 44% of organizations evaluating or planning to adopt such services by the end of 2012, but concerns over privacy, security, availability, the need for off-line access and the ability to integrate hosted services with on-premises applications are gating factors. Evaluate all of these concerns versus the ability to reduce operating expenses.

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