Your Office in the cloud began Tuesday with Microsoft's formal launch of the online version for businesses of its venerable Office productivity applications. Called Office 365, the service offers Microsoft Office's word processing, e-mail, spreadsheets and collaboration programs on the web.
The programs are designed to work with smartphones as well as laptops and desktops, and prices are related to the size of the business. Office 365 can be used on Microsoft's servers or hosted in a company's own data center, and it replaces the previous Business Productivity Online Standard Suite. Microsoft also offers a consumer version of Office Web Apps.
Office 365 vs Google Apps
Tuesday's launch was accompanied by events in New York and London. The move is largely seen as a risk that Microsoft had to take. The risky part is that it offers many of the features of the desktop suite at a fraction of the cost, so Microsoft is essentially competing with itself. The necessity comes largely from the challenge posed by Google Apps, as well as online business offerings from IBM, Salesforce, Zoho, OpenOffice and others. Microsoft Launches Productivity in the Cloud with Office 365 - Yahoo! News