Microsoft goes intercontinental via cloud and Surface

March 3, 2009 by Glenn Chapman
This Microsoft Corporation handout image shows the Microsoft Surface, the company's first commercially available surface computer. Microsoft announced on Monday that it is going intercontinental with touch-screen Surface computers and a suite of business software offered online as services "in the cloud."

Microsoft announced on Monday that it is going intercontinental with touch-screen Surface computers and a suite of business software offered online as services "in the cloud."

Microsoft said it would expand availability of its surface computing platform to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The product is already available in Canada and the United States.

Surface computers feature multi-touch and object-sensing screens in table-top designs, allowing people to work collaboratively.

They can also allow businesses to automatically track what comes and goes. For example, a bottle of wine could be placed on a surface computer table in a cafe, with the price instantly posted to a customer's tab.

"We've received an overwhelming response from companies worldwide that are looking for innovative ways to engage with their customers and developers who want to create applications that were not possible with other technologies," said Surface general manager Panos Panay.

Microsoft says it has more than 120 partners in 11 countries developing ways to use surface computers in retail, health care, government, tourism, media, travel, banking, manufacturing and other sectors.

The US software giant is also stepping further into cloud computing, by letting businesses in 19 countries test its Business Productivity Online Suite.

The cloud computing trend has intensified as businesses struggling in dismal economic conditions reduce costs by using applications online as paid services instead of buying, installing and maintaining software on their own machines.

Microsoft is adding to its international menu Office Communications Online and Deskless Worker Suite software that handle tasks such as email, calendars, collaboration, and instant messaging.

"These services open up new possibilities for businesses to control costs while continuing to enhance the productivity of their employees," said Microsoft business division president Stephen Elop.

"Customers can save between 10 percent and 50 percent in IT-related expenditures as a result of deploying Microsoft Online Services."

Exchange Online and SharePoint Online are available for trial in several European countries, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States.

Organizations worldwide will be able to try the entire Business Productivity Online Suite in April, according to Microsoft.

Use of Business Productivity Online Suite software currently costs 12.78 euros per month per user. Deskless Worker Suite programs providing email and collaboration software costs 2.56 per month per user.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: First Look: What's inside matters in new iPhones

Related Stories

First Look: What's inside matters in new iPhones

September 10, 2015

Don't let looks deceive you. The new iPhones look the same as last year's models on the outside. But changes on the inside matter, from camera improvements to new sensors that enable quicker access to tasks.

Proving nanoparticles in sunscreen products

August 3, 2015

Loads of cosmetics like sunscreen lotions contain titanium dioxide. These nanoparticles are contentious. Experts suspect they may have harmful effects on people and the environment. But it is difficult to prove that the particles ...

Computing at full capacity

August 2, 2015

Over 12 million servers in 3 million data centers in the U.S. burn about 100 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity every year. Billions of dollars are spent on data center energy every year, with billions more spent on power ...

Robots under test for oil and gas rig duty

July 13, 2015

A robot building on ESA's ExoMars rover is bidding to win a place on oil and gas production rigs around the world, to work in remote and hazardous environments.

Recommended for you

Dutch create world's largest man-made wave

October 5, 2015

In a country where most people live below sea level, studying the oceans is a matter of survival. Now Dutch scientists have created the world's biggest man-made wave in a bid to prepare for the worst.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.