Microsoft pins hope on the cloud with Office 365

Mircosoft is adding Office Web Apps to its collection of hosted software and has rebranded as Office 365. We imagine this is the number of days a year Microsoft hopes you’ll be using the service. 

Microsoft announced this afternoon that it will replace what was once known as the Business Productivity Online Suite and name it Office 365.

Previously Microsoft’s business-facing cloud services had been split into different parts, SharePoint, Lync Online, Exchange, and Office web apps. Office 365 looks to unify these. Microsoft SVP Chris Capossela said: “This is everything we know about productivity brought to the cloud,” reports CNET.

Office unit head Kurt Del Bene said that the shift to the cloud was as big a shift for computing as the move to a GUI a generation ago. He said that the move to add Web-based versions of Office to the mix will bolster an “already strong” set of online services for businesses..

Microsoft has its sights on competing more aggressively with Google Apps. We wonder how easy migration will be – but it could be a strong contender for Google’s hosted services. 

We hear Office 365 will launch to the public in a worldwide release next year. For now, Microsoft is kicking off Office 365 with a limited beta rollout.