Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of Microsoft Office 365 in Malaysia, giving local businesses access to the company's next-generation cloud productivity service. Office 365 brings together Microsoft Office Professional Plus, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online in an always-up-to-date service, for as little as US$2 per user per month. Malaysia is among the 40 countries to roll out the cloud service which brings powerful productivity and collaborative tools to businesses of all sizes. These tools put enterprise-grade email, shared documents, instant messaging, video and Web conferencing, portals and more at everyone's fingertips. A little more than a year ago, our Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer was in Malaysia to unveil Microsoft's cloud computing strategy. The availability of Office 365 in our market today is a testament to Microsoft's commitment to bring the latest cloud computing technologies to Malaysian businesses, said Ananth Lazarus, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia. Office 365 was first made available to Malaysian businesses as part of a public beta that launched in April, giving their employees new ways to work together with ease, on virtually any device, using the familiar Microsoft Office applications that they already know and love - all at a predictable monthly cost, backed by the industry's most robust financially-backed service-level agreement (SLA). For large organisations, Office 365 allows IT staff to deliver a better, always up-to-date experience with a range of service plans designed for enterprise needs. They can focus on more strategic work and leave the rest to trusted experts, said Ananth. For small and medium enterprises (SMEs), it is a game-changer, he added. SMEs play a very critical and strategic role in Malaysia's economy, and thus in its development. About 99.2% of businesses in Malaysia are SMEss, accounting for 37.1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP); about 56% of total employment and 20% of exports. This is why the sector is a key area in the Government's Economic Transformation Programme or ETP. Office 365 gives local SMEs enterprise-class IT capabilities without the need for them to have dedicated IT staff, while enterprises can get these world-class capabilities without the need to maintain their own datacentres, said Ananth. All businesses can now access enterprise-class business solutions for the price of a good cup of coffee, on a per user per month basis, effectively removing the need for significant upfront investments in IT infrastructure and maintenance, he added. A Game-Changer for Businesses of Two to Two Hundred Thousand Moving to the cloud with Office 365 doesn't require a business to change the way it works, because the service is based on familiar productivity tools people know and trust, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access and more. Employees get new ways to work together with ease, on virtually any device or mobile phone, and businesses get the reliability, security and IT controls they need in the cloud, even without dedicated IT staff. For Jaime Chong, Director, Operations and Special Projects, Crystal Edge Sdn Bhd, the key benefits are increased productivity and collaboration. We're an agency, so communication is certainly an important aspect of our business. With Lync Online we are able to communicate with our colleagues, business partners and customers around the world in a more engaging and effective manner through Instant Messaging (IM), video calls and online meetings which include ad-hoc online meetings with audio, video and screen sharing. All this can be done with the convenience just several mouse clicks, she said. Now we are able to gain operational efficiencies within our business workflow through reduction in long distance call charges, travel costs as well as the cost of third-party conferencing solutions. About Office 365 Office 365 offers a range of service plans for a predictable monthly price from as little as US$4 per user per month. With Office 365 for small businesses, customers can be up and running with Office Web Apps, Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Lync Online and an external website in minutes. Office 365 for enterprises has an array of choices, from simple email to comprehensive suites to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes. Customers can now get Microsoft Office Professional Plus on a pay-as-you-go basis with cloud-based versions of the industry's leading business communications and collaborations services. Each of these plans come with the advanced I.T. controls, security, 24x7 IT support and reliability you expect from Microsoft, with a financially backed 99.9% uptime SLA. Availability Office 365 for small businesses and Office 365 for enterprises are now available in 40 markets worldwide. Businesses can try it for free for 30 days by signing up at www.office365.com or from their local Microsoft partner.