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Microsoft Reduces Office 365 Pricing by 20 Percent

Microsoft has lowered the prices of the enterprise and academic SKUs of its Office 365 offering effective immediately.

“As we rapidly add customers, the cost to run Office 365 becomes more efficient. This is the beauty of the cloud where we can deliver economies of scale through our worldwide data centers and economies of skill with our engineers, administrators, and support teams operating the service. With these efficiencies, we’re able pass on savings to make it even more affordable for customers of all sizes to move to Office 365. So, I’m thrilled to announce that we’re lowering the prices of most of our Office 365 for enterprise plans by up to 20%. These changes are effective today at Office365.com for new and renewing direct customers,” posted Kirk Koenigsbauer, Microsoft Office Division.

Microsoft also annnounced of make pricing changes to Office 365 for education. “In line with our longstanding commitment to education, we will make our “A2″ service plan free to not only students, but also to faculty and staff,” announced Koenigsbauer.

“A2 includes the core capabilities of Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync and the Office Web Applications. Exchange Online and Lync Online are available today for academic institutions, and we’ll launch the full Office 365 for education service starting this summer.”

After today’s cuts, the new prices on Office 365’s enterprise plans are:

  • E1: $8 per user per month
  • E2: $14 per user per month
  • E3: $20 per user per month
  • E4: $22 per user per month

Here is a new Office 365 pricing chart:

Office 365 New Price Chart

You can get more information on the new Office 365 here, and for education offering here.

In other Office news, Microsoft’s upcoming version of Office Suite apps dubbed “Office 15” will allow third party web extensions known as “Agaves,” which will allow developers to create, within a defined area, an Office application that will interact with the document and provided outside information, functionality, or utility.

“Developers can use technologies like HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and REST to build Agaves, and Microsoft is encouraging devs to use Metro style in their implementations, focusing on content, typography, and touch usage,” reports Verge.

The third party extensions will be available via the Office Public Marketplace. Currently, Microsoft is focusing on three ways to integrate the extensions in to Office applications via Task Pane, Content, or Contextual.

The “Task Pane Agave” will enable Office users to see an extension side-by-side with an Office document, allowing users to look up information from a web service based on a product name highlighted in a document.

While, “Content Agaves” will allow webpages to become part of a document as embedded content that can be shown in line with documents. Developers could use this functionality to integrate a YouTube video clip or a picture gallery.

And, the “Contextual Agaves” will work on the Outlook side of Office and allow developers to display content with a particular mail or calendar item.

Finally, you can now get the February 2012 Cumulative Updates (CUs) packages for Office 2010 and the 2007 Office system. The CUs include Office servers and SharePoint products. In these overall knowledge base articles, you’ll find links for the individual update packages and their descriptions.

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