Verizon offers Microsoft Office 365 to mobile users

New program includes support, help with integration, access to business services.
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Verizon Wireless is offering small- and medium-business users access to Microsoft Office 365 through a program that would simply add the $6 monthly charge to users' phone bills. In addition to offering Microsoft's cloud-based productivity suite to its mobile users, Verizon Wireless is also providing tier-1 support, including help with setting up Office 365, help with migration from other cloud-based suites such as Google Apps, and access to integration services. Verizon will handle the tier-1 support, and according to the company will provide "seamless" access to tier-2 support provided by Microsoft.

Sprint (NYSE: S) announced a similar service with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Office 365 on July 31, but only said that the offer will be available "later this year." The Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Wireless offer for Office 365 is available as of Aug. 6.

The Verizon Wireless package is part of the company's Small Business Essentials with Microsoft Office 365. It includes access to the Office 365 productivity suite, which includes web versions of Microsoft Word, Outlook, Exchange, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Verizon Wireless is also offering anti-virus protection and anti-spam features. Office 365 includes Microsoft Lync, which provides corporate secure instant messaging, audio and video conferencing, and desktop sharing.

According to Michael Schaefer, executive director of small- and medium-business marketing for Verizon Wireless, Office 365 will work with Windows Phone, iOS, Android phones and BlackBerry devices. Schaefer said that it will not support Android tablets. "We'll be distributing it through retail and indirect stores, outside sales and online," Schaefer said. He also said that Verizon Wireless is integrating its services with GoDaddy for domain name registration services.

"We've created a website called the Verizon Wireless Small Business Advisor," Schaefer said. He noted that the website will recommend apps for each platform that are chosen for their quality and, where possible, so that they can work across platforms. Schaefer said that the Small Business Essentials with Office 365 is available for postpaid wireless customers.

"We're extending this to the mobility space," Schaefer said. He added that Verizon Wireless is training its staff in Verizon stores, third-party stores and online to be able to help small business more effectively. While Verizon Wireless is charging the same price for Office 365 that you can buy it from Microsoft, Verizon Wireless is adding a number of services that increase the value.

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