Microsoft  has announced the public beta of Microsoft® Office 365 , the company’s next generation cloud productivity service for businesses of all sizes, which is set to officially launch later this year.
Office 365 was introduced in limited beta last year, bringing together Microsoft Office, SharePoint® Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service. The public beta allows millions of people in more countries, including Canada, to try Office 365 for the first time. 
In addition, Microsoft unveiled the Office 365 Marketplace today, which gives customers a simple way to find partner apps and services for Office 365. Since the introduction of Office 365, more than 150,000 organizations, from independent professionals to large enterprises, have signed up to test it.
“Microsoft has been in the cloud supporting larger organizations like Kraft Foods, Starbucks, The Royal Mail Group and Swedish Red Cross for years. It was energizing to see that worldwide, more than, 70% of the organizations that signed up for the limited beta were small businesses with fewer than 25 employees,” said Bryan Rusche, product manager, Office 365, Microsoft Canada. “Here in Canada, Office 365 resonates with small businesses that want full-featured professional technology, delivered in a way that makes sense for their company.”
With Office 365, moving to the cloud doesn’t require people to change the way they work, because it’s based on the familiar, industry leading productivity tools people know and trust. Employees get new ways to work together with ease, on virtually any device or mobile phone, using familiar applications, such as Office, that they already know and love. Business owners get the reliability, security and IT controls they need in the cloud.
The Office 365 Marketplace  gives customers a simple way to find apps and services when they want to extend and customize Office 365. The Marketplace is now live with over 40 apps and 400 services available from the established community of more than 16,000 Microsoft cloud partners – with new apps and services  to be added over time.
With Office 365 professionals and small businesses can be up and running with Office Web Apps, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and an external website in approximately 15 minutes, for $6.75 Canadian per user, per month (minimum seat is one).
Office 365 for enterprises has an array of choices for midsize and large businesses as well as government organizations, starting for as little as $2.35 per user, per month (minimum seat is one) for basic e-mail. Office 365 for enterprises also includes the option to get Microsoft Office Professional Plus desktop software on a pay-as-you-go basis, for the first time ever. For $29.25 per user, per month (minimum seat is one), organizations can get Office Professional Plus along with e-mail, voicemail, enterprise social networking, instant messaging, Web portals, extranets, voice conferencing and videoconferencing, web conferencing, 24×7 phone support, on-premises licenses, and more.