Microsoft Announces The New ‘Surface’, a 10.6″ Tablet, Based on Windows 8

Windows 8, “Surface

Los AngelesMicrosoft today unveiled a major tablet initiative to compete with Apple’s iPad, Google’s Android, and its own PC hardware partners. After days of speculation and rumors, Microsoft’s major announcement has just been unveiled at a press event in Los Angeles: a Surface tablet. We suspected the company might be working on its own tablet, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed the device on stage at Milk Studios in Los Angeles today. Discussing Microsoft’s history with Windows, Xbox, and Kinect, Ballmer introduced a video of the company’s hardware products over the years before unveiling Windows 8‘s companion, the Microsoft Surface.

Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky took to the stage to describe the hardware of Microsoft’s Surface tablet. There will be two options for Microsoft’s Surface PC, one powered by Intel’s 22nm Ivy Bridge chips running Windows 8, and another Surface powered by an ARM chipset and Windows RT. The Windows RT version is just 9.3mm thin, weighs 1.5lbs, includes a built-in kickstand, and is the first PC with a vapor-deposited (PVD) magnesium case, according to Microsoft. It will ship in 32GB or 64GB versions, complete with a 10.6-inch ClearType HD display (of unknown resolution).

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Microsoft’s Intel-based Surface tablet will run Windows 8 Pro, with a thickness of 13.5mm, a weight of 1.9lbs, and USB 3.0 support. This particular version will also include magnesium casing and a built-in kickstand, but will ship with either 64GB or 128GB storage. Additionally, the Intel version will include additional digital ink support through a pen that magnetizes to the body of the tablet, and a 10.6-inch ClearType “Full HD” display. Both of Microsoft’s Surface tablets feature optional Touch and Type keyboard covers.

Microsoft says suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC. The Windows RT tablet will ship around the same time that Microsoft releases Windows 8 (expected in October), while the Intel-based Pro tablet will arrive about three months later.

Now Microsoft Office for Apple iPad, may launch by Nov 10.

The much awaited Microsoft Office productivity suite for Apple iPad will launch on November 10 this year, according to a report of The Daily.

So far, Apple iPad users have been using the Apple’s iLife set of apps which are equivalent solution for the Microsoft Office suite. However, folks who require using MS Office day in and out, heavily demanded the MS Office apps for the iPad tablet.

The Office apps for the iPad tablet are being tested internally and expected to release in early November. Apparently, the app will feature Metro UI despite of being on iPad tablet to keep the visual connect between the app and the Windows 8.

Image courtesy: The Daily.

Alongside the MS Office for iPad, the company is also expected to release MS Office for Android. Currently the iPad users have to use the alternative apps that cost about $10 each.

More Detailed on it :

The date was reported on Thursday by The Daily, which said that the development team at Microsoft finished work on the project last month. The design team responsible for Office on iPad was also said to have wrapped their work soon after.

“The app is now in the hands of a usability team that appraises software that utilizes the Metro design language for ‘Metro compliance’ and suggests changes as needed,” reporter Matt Hickey wrote. “When approved by the team, the app likely will go to Apple for app store approval, which could take a couple of weeks.”

While development of the application is apparently near finished, Thursday’s report did not give any indication as to why Microsoft will wait more than five months to release the application on Nov. 10. The story corroborates with a report from last week that claimed Microsoft’s industry leading productivity suite will be coming to the iPad and Android-based tablets in November.

Word first surfaced late last year that Microsoft was working on an iOS version of its Office suite. It was also said that the Redmond, Wash., software company planned to release an updated version of Office for Mac on Apple’s digital distribution Mac App Store.

The Daily first shared what was said to be a picture of Office for iPad in action in February. However, Microsoft quickly responded to the report and portrayed it as “based on inaccurate rumors and speculation.”

Microsoft is also working on a new native iOS application for Outlook Web App, called “OWA Mobile Client for iOS,” that will offer compatibility with Exchange 2012 mailboxes. It, along with a new version of the Lync application for iOS, will reportedly feature Microsoft’s Metro interface, just like Office for iPad is expected to do.

Earlier reports claimed that Office for iPad will allow users to create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. We were told last week that Office for iPad will not include dedicated Outlook functionality, as that ability will apparently be restricted to the forthcoming OWA Mobile Client application.

-(via CNNIBN, AppleInsider)

Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate now available to download

Windows Server 2012

Microsoft Server Farm

Ahead of the highly anticipated release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 Release Preview today, the company has posted the server edition of its next-generation operating system. Windows Server 2012 is the server version of Windows 8, an upgrade from the previous Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft’s Release Candidate of Windows Server 2012 includes a redesigned Server Manager and uses the Metro user interface as a Start Menu replacement. We haven’t tested the latest Release Candidate of Windows Server 2012, but it will reportedly remove options to boot directly to the desktop instead of the new Metro interface.

Windows Server 2012 will also include Microsoft’s new Resilient File System (ReFS) to handle large volumes, resiliency to corruption, and shared storage pools across machines. ReFS will only be available inside Windows Server 2012 initially, but Microsoft has plans to test it within the server edition and make it available to Windows 8 client users at a later date. Microsoft has also previously promised that the majority of applications that currently run on Windows Server 2008 and R2 “should work” on Windows Server 2012.

-(via Verge) 

Chrome Takes Over Internet Explorer.

The Google Chrome logo is displayed at a store in London last year

This might be the start of a new chapter in the browser wars. Indeed!!

Over the weekend, Google Chrome routed more Internet traffic than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which long has held its spot as the most-used Web browser in the world, according to data from StatCounter , an Internet monitor.

Google’s Chrome web browser just passed Microsoft’sInternet Explorer to become the most-used browser in the world, says the latest data from a digital analytics service.

Although Chrome has edged out IE before for short periods, the last week marks the first time Chrome was the No. 1 browser for a sustained period of one week. Exactly 31.88% of the world’s web traffic was done on Chrome, according toStatCounter, while IE is a close second at 31.47%.

Although the difference is slight, Chrome has been trending up for some time, while IE has been trending down. IE is still the top browser in many regions, including North America, but Chrome is extremely popular in both India and South America — the latter being a region where Google’s Orkut social network also has significant market share.

Many also say..

Google Chrome, which is regarded as the hipper, faster and more developer-friendly browser, is gaining ground on the competition.

“Whether Chrome can take the lead in the browser wars in the long-term remains to be seen, however the trend towards Chrome usage at weekends is undeniable,” StatCounter’s CEO Aodhan Cullen said in a written news release  in March, when Chrome bested Explorer for a day. “At weekends, when people are free to choose what browser to use, many of them are selecting Chrome in preference to Internet Explorer.”

According to StatCounter’s latest report, which was spotted by the blog Global Nerdy , Google Chrome fielded 32.8% of Web page requests on Sunday.

That compares to 31.9% for Internet Explorer and 25.5% for Mozilla Firefox, which once was seen as the most viable alternative to the long-dominant IE.

Tech blog TheNextWeb says the numbers aren’t exact  but they are significant.

“Measuring the Web is an imprecise science, very often based on scaling up small-scale measurement surveys,” the blog writes, “but the gist of StatCounter’s data over the last year indicates that Chrome use is rising … at the expense of IE and Firefox, regardless of the exact precision of the data.”

ComScore, another company that tracks Internet traffic, does not release comparable numbers. But spokesman Andrew Lipsman said in an e-mail that StatCounter’s numbers are “consistent with what I’ve seen.”

“Chrome has definitely been increasing its share over the past couple years,” he wrote.

Several factors appear to contribute to Chrome’s rise.

One is frustration with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which, fairly or not, is seen by some Web users as not very innovative.

Another is the increasing role Chrome plays in all aspects of computing, especially for people who use Google’s other online services, like Gmail and Google Translate.

Some of the browser’s features enhance other Google products, and the Chrome Web store is home to an increasingly robust catalog of add-ons  that improve the browser’s functionality. CNN’s partner site Mashable has published a list of some of the best .

Google also has tried to position the browser  as the basis for the operating system of the future.

And then there’s the ad campaign.

Google has been running TV spots  showing people using Chrome to communicate with each other. The tagline: “The web is what you make of it.”

-(via CNN, Mashable)

Windows 8 will support USB 3.0, reveals Microsoft:


Microsoft has revealed that Windows 8 will boast “robust” support for USB 3.0 devices, though it will continue to support old USB specifications.

Microsoft’s Dennis Flanagan, the director of program management for its Devices and Networking group, explained the engineering work Microsoft is undertaking to support USB 3.0 on the company’s blog. The USB standard is more than 10 times as fast as its predecessor, USB 2.0. Its competitor, Apple, has opted for the faster Thunderbolt standard.

“The decision to invest in USB 3.0 was an easy one to make, but doing so without compromising the existing USB ecosystem was a big challenge to overcome,” Flanagan said in a blog post. “Our design had to follow the revised 3.0 specification precisely in order to enable emerging USB 3.0 hardware. There are also billions of older USB devices that Windows must remain compatible with.”

To make USB 3.0 work with the next generation of Windows, Flanagan says that Microsoft started working with hardware manufacturers early to “meticulously design a new USB software stack for the new controller while maintaining existing interfaces and behaviors, ensuring every device and driver will work.” To do this, they refined a software model checking tool called “Zing” to test every aspect of its software model.

Other work done to prepare for USB 3.0 included extensive hardware testing and creating a custom tool called MUTT (USB Test Tool) “to simulate a full range of device behaviors that we’d observed over the years.” Essentially, it allowed Microsoft to test 1,000 different USB devices with a single USB thumb drive.

To better explain its work with USB 3.0, Microsoft released a video demonstrating the capabilities of Windows 8 when using the new USB standard. Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments:

-[via Ben Parr, Winrumors]


As Google Acquires Motorola Mobility, RIM & Nokia shares Rise.


Motorola Mobility shares jumped more than 58% on Monday to better than $38.50 per share after Google announced that it would pay $40 per share in cash for the mobile phone giant. Shares of Google initially fell by 3% in the pre-market on the news, but have since rallied to around even during early trading.

Interestingly, shares of beleaguered handset makers Research in Motion and Nokia are also trading higher on the news, as investors speculate that the Google-Motorola deal may prompt further consolidation in the mobile space. The latter was trading up more than 5% and the former up more than 11% in pre-market trading.


SEE ALSO: The History of Android [INFOGRAPHIC] 

Microsoft would seem the most obvious company to be on the hunt for a big mobile acquisition following the deal. The software giant has already signed a billion dollar deal with Nokia to get the manufacturer using Windows Phone 7 as its mobile operating system of choice

Microsoft unveils Windows 8 (video)

We’re live from Microsoft Windows president Steven Sinofsky’s keynote at D9, and there’s something rather exciting on stage — a pair of experimental Windows 8 dev boards running an OS that looks very much like Windows Phone 7’s Metro UI. All Things D actually sat down with the man earlier today and got a sneak peek at what to expect starting with the live tiled screen you see above — and yes, like Windows Phone 7, this OS is designed for touch.

There’ll be two kinds of applications for Windows 8, one that runs in a traditional desktop, and the other pseudo-mobile apps based on HTML5 and Javascript, but both environments — rather, the entire OS — have been designed from the ground up for touchscreen use. Keyboard and mouse will still be options for both sets of programs, but there are multiple virtual sets of keys for different form factors, including a split keyboard for vertical slate use. Multitasking is simply a matter of swiping running apps into the center of the screen, and you can pull windows partway to “snap” them in place alongside other windows — even mixing and matching traditional desktop programs with web apps simultaneously (like Twitter alongside your spreadsheet). There’s a new version of Internet Explorer 10 (which runs Silverlight) and an app store built into the touchscreen interface, along with integrated services like Office 365. Microsoft says the new OS will run on laptops, tablets and desktops when it appears — whenever that might be.

All Things D didn’t have any details on when we’ll get pricing or availability, but we’re looking at some Intel Atom-based demo units on stage right now, and Microsoft says it will have ARM designs (the OS will support NVIDIA, TI and Qualcomm) viewable on the Computex show floor, and more will be revealed at the Build Windows developer conference in September. We should note that “Windows 8” is just a codename for what we’re seeing here — “we’ll figure out the real name in due time,” Sinofsky told the crowd — but we don’t see much harm in calling it Windows 8 for now.

Windows 8 [detailed Video] :

Windows 8 (unveiled) :

——-(via engadget)——–
6:46PM And we’re in! Hoping for a real-deal Windows 8 demo, but who knows what the future may hold. Seriously, anyone?
6:49PM Crazy loud music in here. The party is officially on.
6:52PM Oh, snap! Is that a pair of Windows 8-based tablets up there on stage? Dollars to donuts we’ll get a demo here shortly…
6:55PM Lights are down — here we go! Steven’s out!
6:56PM Steven: “Around 6,000 people working on Windows, IE, and in the division I’m in.” That’s a lot of folk!
6:57PM Walt just asked how Steven feels about not being in Eric Schmidt’s “Gang Of Four.” He seems to be playing it down a bit, and Walt’s suggesting that a score ago, we may have said it’s a Gang Of One, with One being Microsoft.
6:57PM Steven: “Nothing called the Gang Of Four” ends well. Lots of laughs.
6:58PM Walt: “It’s a little unfair here, ’cause you aren’t the CEO of Microsoft, but since you’re the Microsoft man here — you’ve missed a couple of things, big things, right?”
6:58PM Steven: “We definitely missed the iPhone — we didn’t do that one.” Ha!
6:59PM Walt: “We’re still not seeing [Microsoft] tablets with a multitouch-optimized OS from you, and the iPad’s been out some 16-17 months. So, what’s going on?”
7:00PM Walt: “Is it because you’re big and bureaucratic?”

Steven:“Well, we aren’t out of the game — you picked a few things that we’ve not done well on, while there are some things we’ve done well. There’s now more opportunity for us to do a better job. We didn’t do the job, and now we have to go after it.”

7:01PM Steven, speaking about matching the iPad: “We aren’t there yet, but we’ll get to some of that today.” Woo! Diving in here…
7:02PM No question about it — we’re hearing about Windows 8 today.
7:04PM Steven: “Over the 25 years of Windows, I’ve been impressed with the flexibility of Windows. It started as giant machines with few resources.” He’s going over a full history of Windows, we think. Let’s get touching!
7:06PM Really beating around the bush — those dev boards back there are just yearning to be grasped.

Steven’s talking about Microsoft’s efforts thus far with touch; while Windows 7 “has it,” the company understood that things needed to be attacked differently for tablets.

7:07PM If you’ll recall, at Computex 2010, Microsoft seemed certain that Windows 7 was their tablet OS. A year later, that’s hardly proven true — a handful of Win7 tablets made their way out, but none of ’em struck a major chord with consumers.

Here’s hoping that changes today. Meanwhile, Steven’s talking about the WinNT kernel.

7:08PM Walt: “I get the sense that Windows is this big, sluggish thing. The more you use it, the more it slows down. When I turn on an Android tablet or iPad, it just feels light and new. Why would you turn to this big, heavy Windows thing instead of doing another OS for tablets?”
7:09PM Steven: “People told us the same thing when it comes to servers.”
7:10PM Oooh, here comes the demo man! He’s setting things up over here on the stage…
7:12PM Steven: “In Taiwan, in about two hours, we’re show prototypes running the next release of Windows on ARM.” Exciting! We’ll be on the lookout at Computex.
7:12PM So, a new, full version of Windows on tablet. We’re just calling it Windows 8 right now, says Steven.
7:14PM Steven: “Give us some time — we’ll figure out the real name in due time.”

Walt just said we’ll see the new build of Windows “shortly.” In case you couldn’t tell, we’re sitting on the edge of our seat… mildly uncomfortable, but worth it.

7:15PM Walt: “Why is your approach here better?”

Steven: “It’s better because of all the things that Windows brings…”

Walt: “Let me say here — viruses, malware, etc.”

7:16PM Steven: “We colored outside of the lines with this release, and we’re excited about it.” Likewise!
7:17PM Steven: “A word we used in development was ‘modern.'”
7:18PM Demo! It’s a test rig here — all these cards run the screen, and there’s a desktop below pushing the power.
7:19PM When Microsoft started to think about its next release, it wanted Windows to become more modern. It’s now important to connect with a social network, and the internet is a huge part of your experience. Sounds a lot like the Chrome OS mantra!
7:20PM No more blank desktop! It’s a WP7-esque interface — tons of tiles pop up when you come to “the desktop,” and it looks totally customizable.
7:21PM Loads of “live tiles.” If you’ve seen Mango, you’ve seen this, largely. Super exciting direction for Windows.
7:22PM Whoa, the start tiles have “definitely replaced” the Start Menu. RIP Start Menu!
7:23PM We’re told that every desktop app will run in this environment, and the Internet Explorer has been rebuilt for more modern demands and usage expectations.
7:25PM Multiple built-in keyboards! There’s a split one for typing on vertically-held slates. Wild!
7:26PM Whoa, wait! They just pulled up Excel, and now it looks just like Windows 7! Hmm. Microsoft: “We don’t think people should have to give up things they know to deal with a new form factor.”
7:28PM Also new for Windows 8 is a “basket” feature, looks like a branch of social networking where your friends’ photos are pulled into a Photos application.
7:29PM The Start bar definitely reappears with Office. Evidently Microsoft didn’t want to let go of it when it comes to Office.
7:30PM Microsoft’s affirming that everything’s able to be customized. It also just dawned on us that some of this looks a lot like Media Center. Obviously, WP7 comes to mind first, but there’s definitely elements here that we’ve seen before in some form or fashion.
7:31PM Here’s a shot of multitasking, all initiated by touch.
7:31PM And here’s a Lenovo ThinkPad X220 running Windows 8. Don’t get your hopes up — these are just here for demonstration purposes.
7:32PM “Hundreds of millions of PCs will run Windows 8, doesn’t matter if it supports touch or not.”
7:33PM So, there’s a fancy new interface, but Microsoft’s stance from Computex 2010 hasn’t changed in the least. There’s just a single OS. Touch, non-touch, laptop, desktop, tablet — one OS. The question remains: will a hulking Windows install actually feel elegant when used on a tablet?
7:34PM Walt: “This seems like the biggest change in Windows since Windows 95.”
7:35PM Kara seemed fairly upset that Office still takes you back to what’s effectively a Windows 7 interface; the Microsoft team seems to think that Office will be lagging behind when it comes to a refined interface.
7:35PM When’s it coming out?

Steven: “Right now, we’re focused on getting the release done, and the next milestone is the developer conference in September. We’re aiming to keep new Windows builds coming every two the three years. I can tell you it won’t be this fall.”

7:36PM Is Microsoft worried that enterprise users may see this and think it’s too consumer-focused?

Not really — employees are consumers too, and the lines have blurred somewhat. That has definitely been a recurring theme throughout D9, starting with Eric Schmidt’s line that traditional IT is dead.

7:37PM Walt’s pointing out that there’s elements of Zune and Media Center in here, but the casual user may be “shocked” when they look it.
7:38PM Walt: “You’ll have a dev conference in September, and will you have developer tools so that third-party apps can look like this?”

Steven: “Yes! There’s all new APIs so you can build things to look like this. You’ll have access to entirely new services (like the photo file picker).”

7:39PM Steven’s talking up connectivity — in September, we’ll hear about apps talking and sharing and consuming information from other apps. An example, here’s a photo app that can publish photos from another photo app that peeks into the cloud to get it.
7:40PM Walt: “If I’m a developer, am I torn between designing an app for mouse-use or touch-use, since this will be just one OS for all kinds of systems?” A darn good point, might we say.
7:41PM So, you design for touch, and then you translate to mouse / keyboard, and it doesn’t feel clumsy. In other words, you’ll need to use arrow keys to “swipe” from pane to pane. Also, the Windows key will remain in Windows 8, much to Walt’s chagrin — we’re told that that’ll take you back to the start / home screen.
7:43PM It’s monumentally impressive to us that Microsoft thinks they’ve got a full-on tablet solution within a full-on copy of Windows. What happens if you install the next Crysis on a tablet with an embedded GPU?
7:44PM Walt: “What about security? Am I really going to have to install anti-virus software on a lovely looking tablet?”
7:44PM Steven: “It’s always smart to run anti-virus software.” Sigh.
7:45PM Steven wants to talk interface. Walt wants to get down to brass tacks. Getting beyond the pretty start screen, so to speak.
7:47PM Steven just runs Microsoft Security Essentials, and I never get a pop-up. Problem is, the vast majority of Windows-based PCs have all sorts of annoying security software loaded on. The question is: will a future Lenovo tablet come with Security Essentials, or some Norton program on there? Walt’s worried about tiles being cluttered with these very apps.
7:48PM “Adding and removing programs is super easy within Windows 8.”
7:48PM Walt wants to know if Windows 8 machines will boot “as fast as a MacBook Air.” Steven won’t give a straight answer.
7:49PM Steven: “I think we could still do a lot of work with our OEM partners, they view the things they do [i.e. bloatware] as value-adding things.”
7:49PM Questions!
7:50PM Asked about a transition strategy for ARM, Steven says there won’t be a virtualization model. The company decided that the modern apps, written in HTML5 and Java, etc., will likely provide the best user experience.
7:51PM Asked about development, Steven confirmed that the browser within Windows 8 will run Silverlight. We support the most, different ways to reach users.
7:53PM The Windows 8 convertible shown in this demo was running on Atom — so that confirms at least some of the lower-level specifications.
7:55PM Question on if Microsoft’s going to be integrating its services in Windows 8. Steven’s affirming that it’ll happen. Office 365, etc.
7:56PM Question: How is this different than TouchSmart, or just another layer on top of Windows?
7:57PM “It’s not a layer, it’s Windows. It runs across hundreds of millions of PCs, and works across a vast variety of machines. It’s much more seamless than a layer, it’s not two shelves.”
7:58PM Question: Could I make a tablet where you never see the “old house?”

Answer: You’d have to just not use a desktop-based application. In other words, it’ll always live there.

7:59PM An OEM could make a tablet in which the user would never see “normal Windows?” No, you can’t turn “the desktop” off, it’s just part of the way that it works. It’s always there. The code is there.”
8:00PM Also, in case you haven’t noticed, apps are definitely going to be a part of Windows 8. No one specifically said that, but it’s pretty obvious.
8:01PM And that’s a wrap! Stay tuned — Nokia’s head man Stephen Elop will be taking the stage next!

Eager for more? We’re settled in (again) at D9 here in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, and with HP’s boss headed for stage right, it’s Steven Sinofsky finding a comfortable spot in the hot seat. For those needing a refresher, he’s the president of Windows and Windows Live, and with rampant talk of Windows 8 dominating the news this week, we’re clearly hoping to catch a few quips about how the outfit’s next major OS release will be (prayerfully) tailored for tablets. Join me for the blow-by-blow just after the break!

Update: Video after the break!

CLICK HERE for detailed Video

Microsoft officially launches cloud-based Office 365

Microsoft as today cut the ribbon on the official release of its cloud-based productivity suite, Office 365.

Aimed at businesses rather than individuals, the service comprises Exchange Online (for email and calendars), SharePoint Online (for online collaboration), Lync Online (for text, audio and video messaging and conferencing), plus browser-based versions of Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint in addition to the traditional installed versions.

Priced between $2 and $27 per user per month, Microsoft is targeting enterprise customers, small businesses and the education market with Office 365. Microsoft is promising updates to the service every 90 days.

Microsoft’s clear rival here, of course, is Google. Office 365′s Digital Marketing Lead for Office365 just cheekily tweeted “Interesting…Serving up lots of site requests for from certain IP range in Mtn. View,” suggesting that Google is keen to check out the official, out-of-beta version of the service. However, as our own Microsoft specialist Alex Wilhelm recently noted, Google Docs is still some way ahead of the cloud-based Office suite in terms of functionality.


Microsoft has announced the launch of Office 365 in India to offer easy access to cost effective business productivity solutions on the cloud. This novel service will enable the enterprises to use Microsoft Office- including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, email and other software on a pay-per-use model.

Office 365 is built ground up with an updated platform and new infrastructure investments and is backed by the industry’s most rigorous financially backed SLA, and will be available in different ‘packages’ in 40 countries depending on the size and need of the customer organization. These plans start for as little as $2 for basic e-mail to $27 per user per month, allowing SMEs and enterprise customers to access Microsoft’s popular e-mail, collaboration, conferencing and productivity capabilities online. This includes the most advanced versions of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online as well as an option to get the full power of Office Professional Plus desktop software, along with Office Web Apps.

The Office 365 plan for Small Businesses is optimized for organizations with 25 users or less and includes Office Web Apps, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online at approximately $6 per user per month.

This launch is part of Microsoft’s comprehensive Cloud Services Strategy. Almost all of Microsoft’s on premise enterprise solutions are already on the cloud, and the launch of Office 365 takes it to the next level. Microsoft’s customers can choose to deploy either cloud based or on premise solutions, or both, depending on their need, and in turn experience the flexibility and cost control needed to drive higher business productivity.

SaaS or “on-demand software,” is a model in which software and its associated data are hosted centrally (typically in the cloud), and accessed using a web browser over the Internet. Cloud computing facilitates sharing of technological resources, software and digital information. Since this technology is internet-based, data and solutions can be accessed from anywhere using a browser. It is this market Microsoft is eyeing with the new product.

In the coming months, Microsoft Office 365 will also provide significant opportunities to a huge ecosystem of partners that will sell, customise and provide consulting, migration and managed services for Microsoft Online Services to Indian small and medium businesses.

Microsoft Office 365 provides all of the familiar enterprise class productivity solutions on a flexible usage and payment model, delivering streamlined communication with high availability, comprehensive security and simplified IT management. Customers who have already started using the services are realizing savings from reduced hardware, software and operational costs.

Google’s Social Search :

Google will roll out its somewhat controversial Social Search feature to 19 more languages next week, the company has announced on its official blog.

Launched back in October 2009, Social Search is a feature that combines regular search results with publicly available data created by your friends’ social media activities.

Your “friends” are quite loosely defined and include people in your Google Talk friends list, your Google Contacts, people you’re following on Buzz and Google Reader, and other networks you’ve linked from your Google profile or Google Account. Google can also find your friends on public networks such as Twitter and Facebook and gather the data from their public connections as well.

The feature was recently the subject of controversy, as Facebook hired a PR company to push negative stories about Social Search in the press. Facebook claims that Google’s practices raise “serious privacy concerns”, and it’s unhappy with the fact that Google can use Facebook data for its service without Facebook’s permission.

For the most part, Google has stayed silent about the issue, although it’s noticeable that in its latest blog post about Social Search Twitter is mentioned three times while Facebook is nowhere to be seen.

Social Search should be available in 19 languages next week, with more languages on the way. Check out a video overview of the feature below.