Microsoft launches Office 365 public beta

Early on Monday, Microsoft announced the availability of the full public beta of Office 365, Redmond's cloud-based enterprise productivity suite that puts Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online into a single subscription package.

It's been just about six months since Microsoft rolled out the first limited beta of Office 365, and now the company is releasing the public beta just about six months before the product's anticipated final launch.

Office 365 tasks

Two different plans are available in the Office 365 beta: Plan E3, which is designed for larger, IT-based organizations, and Plan P1, which is best suited for small businesses and organizations with 25 or fewer employees and no IT support. Though it can be scaled to larger organizations, Office 365 is meant to be a replacement for Office Live Small Business.

A new addition to the public beta is the Office 365 Marketplace. As the name suggests, this is an "app store" for Office 365 partner apps and services. When it goes live today, it will have 100 apps and 400 professional services available.

Sign-ups for the Office365 public beta take place at, and 38 global regions are open to participate: United States, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom.

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