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Steve Ballmer: Office 365 to launch in June

Microsoft spokespeople have been coy about when the Office 365 cloud service will launch, saying only that it will come out later in 2011. But CEO Steve Ballmer has revealed that it will launch next month.

Speaking in Delhi, India, to an industry group last week, Ballmer said, "We're pushing hard in the productivity space. We'll launch our Office 365 cloud service, which gives you Lync and Exchange and SharePoint and Office and more as a subscribable service that comes from the cloud. That launches in the month of June."

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Ballmer's remarks are available in a transcript on the Microsoft website.

Ballmer also recently announced that Windows 8 will be released in 2012 -- only to see his own employees backpedal from his statement.

We're checking with Microsoft's public relations firm to see if June is the official launch date for Office 365.

The cloud service will replace the current Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), and include access to Exchange, SharePoint, the Lync unified communications suite, and both desktop and Web-based versions of Office tools such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The Office 365 beta has attracted more than 100,000 customers, and was recently expanded to become a public beta available to anyone.

Last month, Microsoft would only say that Office 365 will launch later this year, but a midyear launch would make sense given the competition Microsoft is facing from Google Apps. (See also: Google Apps vs. Microsoft Office)

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.


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