Microsoft takes battle to the cloud with Office 365

Jan 31 2013, 03:38 IST
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SummaryEven as it faces the prospect of declining PC sales, Redmond-headquartered technology company Microsoft on Tuesday launched Office 365 globally.

Even as it faces the prospect of declining PC sales, Redmond-headquartered technology company Microsoft on Tuesday launched Office 365 globally. The service, available on an annual subscription basis, is on Microsoft’s cloud, Skydrive.

Over the past couple of years Office, with more than 30% revenues, has surpassed Windows as the primary cash machine for Microsoft with its share in profits much bigger than the revenue numbers.

Office 365 Home Premium in India is priced at R4,200 and users will have 27 GB of storage space on Skydrive.

Being on cloud helps a company update much more easily and the annual revenue scheme will give it a continuous revenue flow.

The latest iteration of its PC software has done only modestly. “This is a fundamental shift in our business that began several years ago,” Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer wrote in a blog post.

“It’s a service designed for busy families and individuals who can connect multiple devices with a single subscription,” said Ramkumar Pichai, general manager, Microsoft Office Division, Microsoft India.

Microsoft said that it has worked to ensure that this service works across different operating softwares, different versions of Windows and Mac computers and is optimised for Windows 8, the latest touch-based software developed by the company.

With the consumers having become more mobile and keen to utilise hand-held devices for work, it has become imperative for the company to have a presence in these segments.

Besides Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) as a concept has gained immense popularity over the last one year. The company’s operating software has less than 3% market share in the mobile segment.

“In BYOD era, we are addressing a basic need of being connected. We are also enlarging the reach of Office. There is a trend of people using multiple devices,” said Sukhvinder Ahuja, director, Office & Cloud, Microsoft India.

Microsoft has also been losing lot of consumers as well as small and medium enterprises to internet giant Google’s cloud-based service.

According to experts, the company is feeling the squeeze because of Google’s dominance in mobile devices. While denying this, Ahuja said since the new Office suite functions across various operating systems, a consumer’s decision to buy a device will not be affected.

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