Microsoft has launched a public beta of the firm's cloud-based Office 365 business productivity suite.
The Google Apps competitor combines cloud-based online 'Office Web Apps' which the software giant describes as "convenient online companions" to the firm's Office software range including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
In addition to online version of Office applications, Microsoft combines the email and scheduling service of Exchange and SharePoint and the Lync instant messaging and conferencing tool, Microsoft Lync. Microsoft is also promising 99.9% 'uptime' for the cloud service.
Office 365 has been in private beta testing since last October but is now in an open beta testing phase. The service will eventually cost around $6 per user a month for the Office Web Apps and hosted Exchange and SharePoint server access.
The Microsoft Office 365 web site is here.