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Microsoft launching Office 365 on June 28

CEO Steve Ballmer will host a June 28 event in New York City to launch Office 365, a cloud-based alternative to its traditional desktop and server products.

CEO Steve Ballmer will host the event. Microsoft

Microsoft will officially launch Office 365 on June 28 at an event in New York City.

Hosted by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the event will start at 10 a.m. local time (7 a.m. PT) and be available via a live Webcast.

Announced in October, Office 365 is Microsoft's effort to offer business customers a cloud-based alternative to its traditional desktop and server products. Office 365 unites Microsoft's Office Web Apps with hosted versions of Exchange and SharePoint along with Lync, which kicks in the online communication and collaboration piece.

Microsoft's announcement of the launch event was a bit fuzzy, simply stating that Microsoft has news to share about Office 365. But other Microsoft execs, such as Jon Roskill, corporate vice president of Worldwide Partner Group, have already confirmed June 28 as the date that Office 365 will be released to customers.

The product, which has been available as a general beta since April, will be offered in two basic versions.

The entry-level Office 365 for Professionals and Small Businesses will include Office Web Apps, Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync online, along with an external Web site and cost $6 per user per month.

The larger-scale Office 365 for Enterprises will throw in additional features, such as instant messaging, online meetings, and video conferencing, and will be available in four variations ranging in price from $10 to $27 per user per month.

Beyond the business world, Microsoft is also offering an education version of Office 365 with different plans aimed toward school faculty, staff, and students.

Office 365 is also Microsoft's latest attempt to do battle with Google in the cloud. Microsoft has in the past offered its Business Productivity Online Suite to large customers, while Google has been pushing its Google Apps product. The two have competed for lucrative corporate and government contracts, with some going to Microsoft and others to Google.

Microsoft's video below explains features in Office 365.

Correction at 9 a.m. PT: Steve Ballmer's title has been fixed.