Microsoft is announcing its Office 365 this morning. It's a cloud-based enterprise service that offers Microsoft Office and Microsoft Server products.

Office 365 is seen Microsoft's direct response to Google Apps, which has gained almost 20 percent of the US enterprise market share, according to a recent study by White Stratus.

Google Apps has hit hard against this announcement. It alleged:

- You don't need to buy additional licenses to work with others, or hope people outside your company have upgraded to the same software.

- Office 365 is built for Microsoft. Apps is built for choice.

- Office 365 is optimized for Windows-based PCs and devices, which reduces your flexibility.

- Office 365 is 11 different plans, three editions and two tiers. Apps is $5/month with no commitment.

- Google Apps are accessed in a browser. There's no client software to install, secure and maintain.


10:06: Steve Ballmer takes the stage, giving intro speech.

Ballmer: Work together real time. Share calenders. IM each other.

Ballmer: Targeting small to mid-sized businesses.

Ballmer: Where Office meets the Cloud.

Kirk Koenigsbauer takes stage.

Koenigsbauer: Offers browser-based versions of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc.) Runs on all browsers.

Koenigsbauer: Can be accessed by Windows Phone 7, Iphone, Android, etc.

Koenigsbauer: Collaborate in real-time, possible between PC users and mobile user.

Koenigsbauer: Offers web conferencing, integrated with Outlook and other Microsoft Office programs.

Koenigsbauer: Makes editing a website as easy as editing a Word document with website designed tool.

Koenigsbauer: Has gadgets for common website pages (e.g. a standard contact us page)

Ballmer takes the stage again.

Ballmer: Going through stories of small and mid sized businesses benefiting from Office 365.

Ballmer: Saves money by shedding the need for servers and IT maintenance.

Ballmer: Targeting small business. Florists, real estate agents, accountants, etc. Says good for organizations that can't afford in-house IT support.

Ballmer: Ends presentation.