MICROSOFT ONLINE SERVICES LOWERS PRICES

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Microsoft Online Services has unexpectedly become more affordable and a more compelling choice for small businesses. I want all law firms and businesses with five or more employees to consider moving their mail to hosted Exchange mailboxes.

Effective immediately, the price of a hosted mailbox has been cut in half to $5/month per mailbox. Existing MOS customers will automatically get the price break starting today.

Later this month, mailboxes will be increased in size to 25Gb at no extra charge.

For a small monthly subscription fee, small businesses can get the full value of Exchange Server:

MULTIPLE COMPUTERS The same Outlook folders can be displayed on multiple computers at multiple locations. You can use your Outlook folders seamlessly from a desktop computer at the office, a desktop computer at home, and a notebook computer on the road, and Outlook is always up to date at all locations.

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS Office workers can be linked together and share Outlook folders even if they are in different offices.

WEBMAIL Outlook folders can be accessed online through Outlook Web Access – full access to all Outlook folders presented in Internet Explorer, like other webmail services.

PHONE Windows Mobile 6 devices and iPhones can sync email, calendar, and contacts over the air continuously. They’re not the only  ones – some Nokia phones and Motorola’s new Droid phone can also connect to Exchange, and more are scheduled to be released in the months to come.

SHARING Calendars and address lists can be shared with other people in the office.

SECURITY Microsoft provides virus and spam filtering.

REDUCED COSTS Microsoft is responsible for backups, database maintenance, security updates, and upgrades.

The service supports Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007, and permits file attachments up to 30Mb. Outlook Web Access is so polished that some people use it without ever installing Outlook on their computer. Within the next few months, Exchange Online is scheduled to be migrated to Exchange 2010, which reportedly has an even better display for Outlook Web Access.

Exchange Online is the most appealing service for very small businesses, but it’s worth noting that it is one component of a bigger suite of services, including Sharepoint Online and Office Communications Online. The price of the full suite has been cut by a third, from $15/month to $10/month.

Microsoft’s press release about the price reduction and other MOS features can be found here. There are more details and mention of the increase in mailbox size here.

Microsoft Online Services requires a minimum of five seats but at this price even businesses with 3 or 4 employees should consider it. I am a Microsoft partner authorized to sell and support Microsoft Online Services. If you’re interested, please call me or drop me a note! I do not need to be in your geographic area to assist you with this.