Microsoft are expanding the online services being offered to businesses to include all businesses. In an announcement made today Microsoft are offering Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Live Meeting as well as Microsoft CRM4.0. The SharePoint offering will go into direct competition with Google's new baby, Google Sites and seems to show that Microsoft is taking the online battle seriously at last.
Based on the proven, business-class software available in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, the new services enable businesses to access e-mail, calendaring, contacts, shared workspaces, and webconferencing and videoconferencing over the Web. The new services are managed through a single Web-based interface, designed to meet the needs of IT professionals. Through this security-enhanced interface, IT professionals can monitor the performance of the services, add and configure users, submit and track support requests, and manage users and licenses.
While a beta version is currently only on offer to a limited number of US customers this marks a major move for the Microsoft and perhaps we're seeing the first step in the realisation of the Software plus Services strategy that has been touted around for so long.