Microsoft on Monday announced that its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), part of the Microsoft Online Services (MOS) cloud computing offering, is now available for trial to businesses of all sizes in 19 countries. Additionally, Microsoft announced the pending availability of its Business Productivity Online Deskless Worker Suite, an economical email, scheduling, and collaboration service that should be of interest to those trying to save money in these trying times.
"These services open up new possibilities for businesses to control costs while continuing to enhance the productivity of their employees," says Microsoft Business Division president Stephen Elop. "Customers can save between 10 percent and 50 percent in IT-related expenditures as a result of deploying Microsoft Online Services."
Microsoft began shipping its MOS cloud computing offerings in the US last year. The services are essentially Microsoft-hosted versions of the company's most popular server products, which includes, among others, the Exchange email and PIM server and the SharePoint collaboration server.
With this week's announcement, the Exchange Online and SharePoint Online portions of BPOS are now available in trial form in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, as well as in the United States. The remainder of BPOS will become available for trial and purchase in April, Microsoft says.
Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Deskless Worker Suite will become available worldwide for trial and purchase in April. This low-cost, Web-based cloud computing service is aimed at businesses users that don't yet have access to email, scheduling, or collaboration functionality today. It will cost about 2.56 euros per month per user (the fee is $2 in the US). The Deskless Worker Suite is seen largely as a way for organizations to provide email and other services to those users that currently do not receive them. Thus, it is additive and not seen as a replacement for more full-featured offerings.
I've written a lot about MOS on the SuperSite for Windows. A few good starting points can be found below.Software + Services: Microsoft Online Services Expands to Small Businesses
Microsoft Online Services: Pricing and Partner Model Revealed