Business people are increasingly accessing files stored in the "cloud," and Microsoft wants in on the action. A new suite of online tools called Office 365, still in beta, is meant to appeal to those users. A recent post on the Office 365 Blog describes how the service will benefit Apple customers.
"End users still get a phenomenal experience across the Mac, Safari or iPhone so they can easily work with co-workers on PC's," notes blogger Andrew_MSFT. "The IT department also benefits with access to Admin pages and can set up one set of policies for secure access."
Apple customers can benefit in several ways. For example, Office for Mac 2011 users can share and co-author Word and PowerPoint documents via SharePoint Online. Those without Office installed can make "light edits" with SharePoint Portal, view PowerPoint broadcasts and check Exchange email with Outlook Web Access, all via Safari. iPhone users can set up Exchange Active Sync and use one of several third-party apps to view and edit MS Office documents (though there is still no official Office for iPhone app from Microsoft).
Office 365 pricing is complicated. ZDnet has put together a slideshow of the options that will likely be available when it launches in mid-2011. ZDnet notes that pricing starts at US$72 per year for the basic service.
The service could change a bit but with a rumored July launch, the feature set is probably fixed. Is Office 365 something you'd think of using, or would you prefer to go to Google or even roll your own solution using, say, Dropbox? Let us know in the comments.
[Thanks Rich for the tip!]