Software giant Microsoft has released the public beta version of its cloud-based Office 365 productivity suite.
The limited beta, which will be followed by a wider public launch later this year, will be accessible to small businesses and enterprises which register themselves on the Office365 website. The beta Office365 is available in 38 countries covering 17 languages, Microsoft said.
The company has launched a contest to attract small businesses to its platform. Five small businesses who register with the service will receive Office 365, a $50,000 marketing package and one day of free work from a Microsoft executive.
Microsoft has released the beta in two versions, one for small businesses and the other for enterprise users. The small business version will cater to organisations with fewer than 25 employees, offering web apps, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online.
The enterprise version will come with the Microsoft Office Professional Plus along with cloud based email, enterprise social networking, voicemail, instant messaging along with other Office365 features.
“We've been in the cloud for years supporting large enterprises such as Shell and DuPont, but Office 365 takes that same technology power and delivers it to small businesses. More than 70 percent of the people who signed up for the limited beta were small businesses, so it clearly strikes a chord,” Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president, Microsoft Office Division, said in a statement. You can find more about Microsoft's Office 365 here.