Microsoft has announced the general availability of a major new update to its Microsoft Office 365 services for business. Microsoft’s cloud-based version of Office cloud has new features and offerings tailored to the needs and budgets of small, medium and large organizations.

In addition to updated Microsoft Lync Online, Exchange Online and SharePoint Online services, business users can now get the full-featured, rich Office applications they are familiar with, on up to five devices, delivered as an always up-to-date cloud service. Office 365 also features enhanced enterprise social capabilities with SharePoint and Yammer today, and Lync-Skype connectivity for presence, IM, and voice by June.
The new Office 365 service is available today in 87 markets and 20 languages and an additional 20 markets and 16 languages in the second quarter of this year.

“With Office 365, everyone from large enterprises to small businesses to individual consumers can now benefit from the power of Office and the connectivity of the cloud,” said Jason Brommet, Group Manager of Office, Microsoft Canada  “This release unlocks new scenarios and delivers capabilities that far surpass anything available in browser-only solutions.”

Since launching in mid-2011, Office 365 is one of the fastest growing businesses in Microsoft history. After only 18 months, one in five of Microsoft’s enterprise customers now has the paid service, up from one in seven a year ago. The number of small and medium sized businesses using Office 365 has also grown by 150% in the last 12 months.

The new features in each of the Office 365 versions include:

Office 365 ProPlus – Office 365 ProPlus includes the latest and most complete set of fully featured, rich Office applications delivered as a service: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, InfoPath, Access and Lync. It works on up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs and Macs. People can now simply sign in to Office 365 from any of their devices, and their documents and personalized settings roam with them, allowing them to quickly pick up right where they left off.  IT departments also get the controls they need including the ability to run Office 365 ProPlus side-by-side with other versions of Office, and tools to streamline and manage updates for their users.

Office 365 Midsize Business – Designed for medium sized businesses with 10 to 250 employees. In addition to Office 365 ProPlus, this service provides midsize businesses with the enterprise-quality communication and collaboration tools they want – along with the simplified IT tools they need to maintain control while reducing complexity. Active Directory integration, a web-based administration console and business hours phone support are also included. Pricing is $184.80 per user for an annual subscription, the equivalent of $15.40 per user per month.

Office 365 Small Business Premium – designed for small businesses with 1 to 10 employees. In addition to the complete set of fully featured, rich Office applications, this service includes business grade email, shared calendars, website tools and HD video conferencing in an easy to manage service that doesn’t require IT expertise. Pricing is $160.80 per user for an annual subscription, the equivalent of $13.40 per user per month. It is also available for $16.10 on a monthly plan.

A free trial of the system is available at