AT&T offers Microsoft Office 365, too

The company looks to capitalize on its small business client base with the Microsoft Office 365 offering

Seeking to beef up its products and services for small and midsize businesses, AT&T Monday announced that it will offer Microsoft's Office 365 cloud-based service. AT&T is making the SaaS (software as a service) available for its 300,000 small-business customers, providing mobile and desktop access to popular Microsoft programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the Lync instant messaging platform -- the same offering as Microsoft's Office 365.

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Mike Sapien, a principal analyst with Ovum, says the news makes a lot of sense for AT&T. "It's a big play to have a really popular packaged app they can deliver to the [small business] market," he says. "They're really putting something out there that businesses actually need."

Buying a cloud-based version of Microsoft Office has a number of potential advantages for users, Sapien points out. A cloud model frees users from having to dedicate on-premise resources to hosting the application, while allowing the programs to be accessed across a range of devices, including mobile platforms on the AT&T network.

The AT&T offering also comes with Tech Support 360, AT&T's support program for helping customers set up, migrate and service the software.

Microsoft Office 365 from AT&T starts at $6 per user per month and is broken into two tiers: one for businesses with between one and 25 users, and another for an unlimited number of users. In addition to purchasing the bundle, customers have a choice to purchase some apps as a standalone product, including Exchange email, Lync, and SharePoint.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

This story, "AT&T offers Microsoft Office 365, too" was originally published by Network World.

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