Microsoft Brings Its New Touch-Friendly Office Suite To Business Customers

steve ballmer microsoft

Photo: AP

First Microsoft rolled out its latest Office suite to consumers. Today, it’s making the new software, Office 365, available over the Internet to business customers.You could argue that Microsoft has its priorities backwards, since business customers are its bread and butter and consumers have been lukewarm to its latest attempts to woo them.

Microsoft has released new versions of its Office 365 cloud based on the  version of Office released to consumers last month (called Office 2013 if bought as a straight software and Office 365 Premium Home edition if bought on an annual contract).

The company has a bunch of pricing plans for its Office 365 cloud already. It added three new ones today:

  • Office 365 ProPlus = $144/user for an annual subscription, geared toward big companies ($12/user/month)
  • Office 365 Midsize Business = $180/user for an annual subscription ($15/user/month)
  • Office 365 Small Business Premium = $150/user for an annual subscription  ($12.50/user/month)

Companies that already use Office 365 will automatically get the new software at no extra cost. But because some of them use a “hybrid” approach, with local versions installed on some employees’ PCs, upgrading could require some work on the IT department’s part.

Microsoft is giving IT departments up to two months to roll out the upgrade, and has built a “deployment tool” to help them upgrade everyone’s PC.

As we previously reported, Microsoft has won some big customers to Office 365. But it has been coy about releasing actual revenue numbers,  or even total customer figures, indicating that its cloud still represents a tiny portion of its overall Office business.

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