Microsoft Announces Launch of Office 365

Microsoft announced its opening Office 365 to public beta. Office 365 includes updated versions of SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Lync Online, and Office Web Apps. All will be available as a subscription.

In addition, the company has launched Office 365 Marketplace. This will give customers a means of finding third-party apps and services to be integrated with Office 365. Initially, the marketplace offers 100 apps and 400 services ? numbers the company plans to increase over time.

Office 365 caters to small businesses, and the educational market, and is strikingly similar to Google Apps and Google Apps Marketplace, save for one major difference: Microsoft’s apps aren’t free.