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Microsoft explains Office 365Senior VP Chris Capossela talks with CNET's Ina Fried about Microsoft's new subscription Office service and how it stacks up against Google Apps.
-I'm Ina Fried with CNET. I'm here with Chris Capossela who's the senior vice president in Microsoft's Office unit. Today, Microsoft announced Office 365. New hosted service and a subscription service. What is Office 365? -Well, thanks for chatting with me. Office 365 brings together the Office-rich client, Office Pro Plus with Exchange, Link, and SharePoint, really bringing together all of our productivity technologies into a single cloud collective service run by Microsoft. -So, part of it is bringing Office web apps to the hosted version of Exchange and SharePoint that you guys have had so the browser-based versions, but part of this is also about making the regular desktop office a subscription service so it sounds like you guys have a couple different options. Can you talk about what some of those options are? -Yeah, sure. We have a whole range of different offers that customers can buy. Some of them range from very low end, simple e-mail, which we think would be for great for a manufacturing shop for workers or retail point-of-sale workers and they go all the way up to the full technology suite that includes the rich client, Office Pro Plus that runs on your PC connects up to the full Exchange, full SharePoint, the full Link, the Office web applications and the browser, so you should think about us as providing the best productivity experience on the PC, on the phone, and in the browser, all connected up to this Office 365 cloud service from Microsoft, and we give customers a range of different offers to choose from so they can right size their technology for different users inside their company, and that, we think, is a real step forward for many of our customers. -You know, the products you've talked about ranged from about $2, $4 for hosted e-mail or a hosted e-mail and SharePoint without, you know, for the sort of desktop worker all the way up to around $27 for the biggest package that includes all the hosted stuff and subscription to full desktop office. -Right. -But in the middle, there's a product that includes the Office web apps so the browser-based versions of the apps along with hosted Exchange and SharePoint. That's priced at one price, $6 a month for small businesses and $16 for larger businesses. That's a product that I think people are gonna compare to Google Apps which is $50 per user per year. Obviously, you guys are more than that especially for large businesses. How do you think you compete? -Well, certainly, I think the wealth of technology and the completeness that we have to offer is very hard to compete with, and our product is Office, it's Exchange, it's SharePoint, it's Link. These are tools that people are incredibly familiar with so there's no training curve, no learning curve for the technology. We've proven that, you know, Exchange is the corporate e-mail tool of choice and we think that that's quite valuable. The newest version of Exchange is being very well received. SharePoint has been a real runaway success for us that really nobody has a competitive offering to what SharePoint can do when it comes to social networking inside your corporation, document collaboration, internet sites, enterprise search capabilities, et cetera so we think we compete by out-innovating our competitors, out-innovating ourselves in the old versions of work that we've done, and by offering a wide range of choices. For some customers who are very budget conscious, they have a very affordable set of Office that they can buy. For customers who really value the full productivity stack, we're excited to be able to deliver that for the first time ever as a cloud service from Microsoft so, Office 365 runs the gamut from a single independent professional all the way up to the board of directors of the largest corporations in the world. -Okay, thanks, Chris. -Thanks for your time.