Microsoft Updates Office 365 For Business

Tickers in this article: MSFT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Microsoft(MSFT) kept its promise. The software giant said it would release its next-generation office suite of applications on Feb. 27 and it kept its word.

The Redmond, Wash.-based firm describes the new software as a major new update to its Office 365 services for businesses. They're calling it Microsoft's most complete Office cloud service to date

According to the software giant, the latest Office 365 has:

"...new features and offerings tailored to the needs and budgets of small, medium-size and large organizations. In addition to updated Microsoft Lync Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft SharePoint Online services, business users can now get the rich Office applications they are familiar with, on up to five devices, delivered as an always up-to-date cloud service. Office 365 features enhanced enterprise social capabilities with SharePoint and Yammer today, and Lync-Skype connectivity for presence, instant messaging (IM), and voice by June."

Microsoft is very proud of its online service. The company says that that since launching a-year-and-a-half ago, Office 365 has become one of the fastest-growing businesses in the company's history. So much so that one in five of Microsoft's enterprise customers now pays for the service. A year ago one in seven were paying customers.

The new Office 365 subscription service is available today in 69 markets and 17 languages and will be available in an additional 20 markets and 16 languages in the second quarter of this year.

Those interested can purchase Office 365 directly from Microsoft though authorized retailers or partners. A free trial version is available at the Office 365 Web site.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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