Windows Live has a new big brother: Office 365

10-19Office_lgMicrosoft announced today a beta trial of a new hosted suite of services, dubbed Office 365.  The new suite combines Office Web Apps, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online into a single bundle either for small businesses (less than 25 seats) for $6 per seat per month, or for enterprise at about $2 per seat per month for “basic email” all the way up to $24/mo. for the entire suite plus Office Professional Plus and support:

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 $24 or 22.75 euros per user, per month, organizations can get Office Professional Plus along with e-mail, voicemail, enterprise social networking, instant messaging, Web portals, extranets, voiceconferencing and videoconferencing, webconferencing, 24×7 phone support, on-premises licenses, and more


It will be interesting to see where the price point tips on the low end, as very small businesses could get much of the same functionality out of Windows Live, using Office Web Apps, Hotmail (it’s the new busy!), and Windows Live Essentials (or even *shudder* tools from Google or elsewhere).

We checked earlier today and the beta was apparently already full, but now this evening even the website, which wasn’t responding when we first tried, accepted our submission.  We haven’t received an email confirmation yet, however, also apparently a known issue, so who knows if we made it in to the beta or not.