Microsoft's cloud pricing falls closer to earth

Microsoft announced a new pricing structure for its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) due to strong customer demand in New Zealand and around the world, it claims.

The cloud computing solution will be available in an additional 15 countries from next week and includes updated capabilities.

Microsoft national technology officer Brett Roberts said the BPOS platform would help business save money and was an ideal solution for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). “There is a lot happening in cloud computing in New Zealand. In my career a Microsoft, I have never seen a technology illicit as much interest as this solution has.”

“This trend represents the local impact of a wider worldwide trend toward software plus services delivered remotely.

“We are committed to the cloud, and as more customers are signing up to Microsoft Online Services, they are finding a software product that is intuitive, familiar, and constantly improved. The response we have seen locally is mirrored in markets around the world,” Mr Roberts said.

Microsoft New Zealand business group lead Anne Taylor said the announced re-enforced Microsoft’s position in cloud computing.

“Small businesses are very interested in this suite, we have 200 customers [in New Zealand] currently trialling this (the product became available in April). Small businesses that don’t have the infrastructure, can access the technology as a service. Microsoft manages the infrastructure. New Zealand got this technology pretty early,” Ms Taylor said.

Auckland-based Sistema Plastics financial controller Geri Toa said as a small business it needed reliable and flexible IT systems, such as the cloud suite, that are easily managed with minimal overhead.

New global customers including Lions Gate Entertainment, McDonald’s Corporation, Rexel Group and hundreds more have used BOPS online suite in recent months in recent months.

New Pricing
Due to rapid customer adoption, global scale and improved efficiencies from new software such as Exchange Server 2010, Microsoft is reducing the price of BPOS as well as Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft Office SharePoint Online and Microsoft Office Communications Online. With the price reduction, the BPOS  is now NZD $17.24  per user per month, a 35% price reduction.

New Capabilities in the Cloud
Microsoft Online Services are updated every 90 days with new capabilities. This quarter, the updates will include increasing mailbox storage to 25 GB for users of the standard service, as well as new administration scripting capabilities.

Availability
Later this week, Microsoft will expand the availability of the BPOS including commercial availability in Singapore and trials in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania and Taiwan. Commercial availability in India is also expected later this year, marking expansion to a total of 36 countries and regions.

About the Business Productivity Online Suite
Part of Microsoft Online Services, BPOS offers enterprise-class communications and collaboration software delivered as subscription services to businesses of all sizes. The services include Exchange Online with Microsoft Exchange Hosted Filtering, SharePoint Online, Office Communications Online and Microsoft Office Live Meeting. In addition, Exchange Online Deskless Worker and SharePoint Online Deskless Worker are available for occasional users.

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