Microsoft Corp. today announced Microsoft Office 365, the company’s next generation in cloud productivity that brings together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service.

Office 365 makes it easier for millions more organizations to get and use Microsoft’s award-winning business productivity solutions via the cloud. With Office 365, people can work together more easily from anywhere on virtually any device, while collaborating with others inside and outside their organization in a simple and highly secure way. As part of today’s news, Microsoft is also opening a limited beta program for Office 365 in 13 countries and regions.

“Office 365 is the best of everything we know about productivity, all in a single cloud service,” said Kurt DelBene, president of the Office Division at Microsoft. “With Office 365, your local bakery can get enterprise-caliber software and services for the first time, while a multinational pharmaceutical company can reduce costs and more easily stay current with the latest innovations. People can focus on their business, while we and our partners take care of the technology.”

“For a small business, Office 365 is a perfect way to start,” said Rob Nichols, chief technology officer of Allovus Design, a graphic design firm and member of Microsoft’s Customer Advisory Board for Office 365. “It has all the features we need, and we can come out of the gate with the same tools the big guys have β€” on day one.”

Office 365 for enterprises introduces an array of choices for midsize and large businesses as well as government organizations, starting for as little as $2 per user, per month for basic e-mail. Office 365 for enterprises also includes the option to get Microsoft Office Professional Plus desktop software on a pay-as-you-go basis, for the first time ever. For $24 per user, per month, organizations can get Office Professional Plus along with e-mail, voicemail, enterprise social networking, instant messaging, Web portals, extranets, voice conferencing and videoconferencing, web conferencing, 24×7 phone support, on-premises licenses, and more.

Product Availability

Office 365 will be available worldwide next year. Starting today, Microsoft will begin testing Office 365 with a few thousand organizations in 13 countries and regions around the world, and the beta will be expanded to include more organizations over time. Office 365 will be generally available in 40 countries and regions next year.

Later next year, Office 365 will expand to include Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to provide Microsoft’s complete business productivity experience to organizations of all types and sizes. In addition, Office 365 for education will debut later next year, giving students, faculty and school employees powerful technology tailored specifically to their needs.

Earlier today, Microsoft launched http://www.Office365.com where customers and partners can sign up for the Office 365 beta and learn more about the offering.

Stay up-to-date with Office 365 on Twitter (@Office365), on Facebook (Office 365), or the Office 365 blog at here.