Microsoft Online Services is the company's new venture to become a more Software-as-a-service-aware entity; the announcement will be a significant step for Microsoft as it carefully considers its next move in order not to affect its current revenue streams.
Both Sharepoint and Exchange Online Beta will be available to US-based companies of all sizes as from today together with a new, more flexible, licencing model that will allow customers to purchase Microsoft Online Services on a per-user basis.
Sharepoint and Exchange Online Beta are based on Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and allow businesses to access e-mail, calendaring, contacts, shared workspaces, and web conferencing and videoconferencing over the Web
Businesses will be able to manage the services through an intuitive web-based interface which is geared towards providing a secure environment for IT Professionals.
Existing customers with Software Assurance on their Microsoft Client Access Licenses (CAL) can purchase a user subscription at a discount although Microsoft has yet to be more specific.
Prospective users must first sign in to Microsoft Online Beta services before being able to try any online Microsoft services.