If the FISMA blame game wasn’t enough, Microsoft has released its closest competitor to Google Apps for public beta and it is called Office 365. Chances are, you have heard of it already because it was in a closed beta for around six months now. The FISMA blog war has surely pre-heated the oven for this new cake from MSFT and Google Apps was not even aware that trouble was yet to begin, full-on.
Microsoft has been running a cloud based email service, similar to Google apps named Business Productivity Online Services (BPOS). Apparently, no one knew about it and this rebranding and facelift was well worth it. Today, BPOS is back with a bang and it will find a prospective market in big enterprises, ones that have had good relations with MS and are using Google Apps already. However, the real aim that Microsoft has here is to get the service to the small businesses.
The launch of the Office 360 suite is supplemented with the launch of Office 365 Marketplace with around 100 apps. Google App Marketplace had close to 300 apps on their completion of a year, which was last week.
The Apps offering from Microsoft will not reach the masses as easily as Google Apps though. They are no free plans like in Google Apps and the minimum pricing is at $6 per month if you have less than 26 employees per month. Those who have been testing this App complain of the user interface but praise the functionality. Overall, this is enough to scare Google.Try out Office 365 for yourself- www.office365.com.