LolaTheriotMicrosoft may launch new Office cloud license

Microsoft may be close to add a new way for big business in order to buy Microsoft Office.

Union called new license, unde4r which Microsoft would charge enterprises the same for software whether it is hosted on-premises or in the cloud, according to a report in SDTimes earlier this week that quoted unnamed Microsoft channel partners who had been told of the program. No prices were listed.

The new license would help reduce complexity for large companies with workers with widely varying degrees of software usage. Heavy and regular users of a Microsoft app might require an on-premise server version, while light users can make do with a hosted version from Microsoft.

According to SDTimes, the union license would either apply to Microsoft Office run locally and hosted on the just-launched Windows Azure, or to Exchange and SharePoint, which Microsoft offers in software and hosted form. The latter is via Microsoft’s year-and-a-half-old Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).

“Union” could be a new bundle that combines Office 2010 (on-premise) with Office Web Apps and, to store the data from the latter, SharePoint Online, according to Paul DeGroot, an analyst with the independent research firm, Directions on Microsoft.

It would allow Microsoft to maximize its revenue without driving customers toward cheap and free solutions such as Google Apps, Zoho and VMware’s recently acquired Zimbra e-mail app.

DeGroot wrote in an e-mail, Microsoft may ask the customer to pay for both ways, license plus subscription.

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