Microsoft to charge £10 for hosted SharePoint and Exchange

Microsoft is bringing its hosted versions of Exchange and Sharepoint to the UK, in a move which sets it against Google's Enterprise Apps.

At German tech fair CeBIT today, Microsoft announced that the Business Productivity Online Suite can now be trialled in 19 countries, including the UK. It offers Exchange Online and SharePoint Online as well as a package called Office Communications Online, which offers instant messaging and presence. It will be available for purchase in April.

Stephen Elop, president of the Microsoft Business Division, said in a statement: "We expect customers to save between 10 per cent and 50 per cent in IT-related expenditures as a result of deploying Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Office Communications Online and Microsoft Office Live Meeting."

Businesses can subscribe to the entire Business Productivity Online Suite for 10.04 a month per user, or pick and choose between Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Communications Online and Office Live Meeting. Microsoft said buying the whole package offers a savings of 38 per cent versus buying them individually.

Microsoft also announced the Online Deskless Worker Suite, which includes email, calendar and collaboration tools, at a rate of 2.01 per month per user.

Microsoft first announced the online package last autumn, calling it software plus services," rather than the standard "software as a service."

Microsoft said that massive pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline had already signed up for the Business Productivity Online Suite for it's 100,000 employees.

"The move to Microsoft Online Services will help GlaxoSmithKline cut operational costs by an estimated 30 percent and create a variable cost model that will provide increased flexibility in the future," said Ingo Elfering, vice president of Information Technology Strategy, GlaxoSmithKline.

Click here to read our review of Google Apps Premier Edition.