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Microsoft Office 365 wins over large enterprises

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Office 365--Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) cloud-based adaptation of popular productivity tools such as Exchange, SharePoint and Lync--has won over a lot of small businesses since it launched last summer, and now it boasts some big names in the enterprise space as well. JetBlue, Patagonia, Campbell Soup Co. and the American Heart Association are among the large organizations adopting the cloud service, reports Paul McDougall at InformationWeek.

The online productivity suite starts at a monthly per user fee of $6, which puts it in the running against Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Apps. The main reason the American Heart Association is moving to the cloud offering is cost-savings. The association considered going with Google Apps but ultimately chose Office 365 because of concerns about privacy.

"Google changes their privacy agreements for a lot of different reasons, just like Facebook. Some of them appear to be commercially oriented, and that concerned us," said AHA CIO Michael Wilson.

The AHA expects its annual email and collaboration costs to be half of what they were while operating Exchange servers in-house. Cost savings aren't the only benefit, however. Office 365 customers don't have to worry about periodic upgrades, and they can expand their storage capacity significantly. "The ability not to have to upgrade to take advantage of new functions is huge," Wilson said. "And we get a radical upgrade in storage space."

AHA's cloud endeavor doesn't stop with collaboration and communications tools. The association plans to move to cloud-based options for Word, PowerPoint and Excel as well. It is also swapping out Oracle's (NASDAQ: ORCL) Siebel CRM for Microsoft Dynamics.

For more:
- see Paul McDougall's article at InformationWeek

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