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Office 365 Introduced on Tuesday

“Cloud” seems to be the word of the year.

On Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled their new cloud service, Office 365, so business’ can access Office software when their employees are away from the desk.

The service will be available in 40 markets, and users will be able to access e-mail, documents, contacts, and calendar from anywhere where they have access to the Internet—including smartphones.

The subscription based service was introduced last year, and more than 200,000 organizations signed up to test the product, according to Microsoft.

Pricing starts at $6 per user per month, with the price going up depending on size of the business.  The service would cost a medium sized business and enterprise sized business between $10 and $27 per user per month.

“Great collaboration is critical to business growth, and because it’s so important, we believe the best collaboration technology should be available to everyone,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement. “With a few clicks, Office 365 levels the playing field, giving small and midsize businesses powerful collaboration tools that have given big businesses an edge for years.”

The cloud service also allows co-workers to instant message and have virtual meetings wherever they are, even in the same office together.

Elia Wallen, owner of Travelers Haven said in a statement: “With Office 365, I’m going to save $100,000 a year and cut 30 hours of work a day across my 35 employees, but most importantly, my team is going to be able to work together better — no matter where they are.”

Office 365 is similar to Google’s cloud service that allows users to connect away from a desktop, however, Google Apps for Business is cheaper at $5 per user per month, and the price doesn’t change with the size of a business.

Google Apps for Business also gives users access to e-mail, contact, documents and spreadsheets.  Like 365, users can collaborate on the same document while using the service.

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