Microsoft's online Office targets small firms

Software giant and HKBN offer online package to small businesses in HK

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 March, 2013, 7:47am

Microsoft has expanded its collaboration with Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) to deliver Office 365, the "cloud computing" version of its popular productivity software, to thousands of small businesses across the city.

The two companies started offering a package on Tuesday for businesses with one to 10 employees that combines 100-megabits per second broadband service and a one-year online subscription to the Office 365 Small Business Premium edition for HK$299. HKBN's service covers 1,700 commercial buildings and more than two million homes.

Cloud computing enables companies and consumers to buy, lease, sell and distribute a range of software, business systems, data and other digital resources, including storage, as an on-demand service, just like buying electricity from a power grid. "Cloud" refers to the internet.

"We expect our Office 365 business here to again achieve triple-digit year-on year growth this year," said Joelle Woo Oi-chi, the marketing and operations director of Microsoft Hong Kong. "The number of small to medium-sized businesses using Office 365 grew 150 per cent last year."

More than 90 per cent of Office 365 users worldwide are small firms. Among large corporate users, Hong Kong-based Mandarin Oriental Hotel plans to deploy Office 365 to 5,000 users across its international operations, said Raju Daryani, the hotel chain's vice-president for information technology infrastructure.

Microsoft has more than one billion users of its traditional packaged Office software worldwide. Online subscription for Office marks a big departure for Microsoft, which has relied on physical sales for decades.

Now it competes directly with Google's own online productivity applications.