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Microsoft Expands BPOS Suite to More Countries

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Microsoft is expanding availability of its cloud-hosted business applications suite to an additional 17 countries this month as well as providing the suite in 13 additional languages. Additionally, some U.S. customers are now able to use the online suite for voice calls.

The announcements regarding Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) came in a post to the Online Services Team Blogthis week.

"With this, BPOS is now available in 39 countries and regions; the products that comprise BPOS are localized in up to 45 languages; and the Microsoft Online Customer Portal is localized in 18 different languages," Josh Topal, Online Services spokesperson, said in the blog post.

The online suiteis comprised of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Communications Online and Office Live Meeting.

In addition to countries that were already on the list where customers can obtain BPOS services, Microsoft announced immediate availability in the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Israel, and Poland among others. Another eight nations, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Puerto Rico, will be added to the list later this month.

Those nations and regions are in addition to the existing list of locales where BPOS is available. They include Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, U.K., and the U.S.

Phone calls via Office Communications Online

In another aspect of the announcement, U.S.-based dedicated BPOS customers can now make and receive voice calls using Office Communications Online, a PC, and a broadband connection, the blog post added.

Although the service does not eliminate customers' need for a PBX, the aim is to lower demands on it by transferring some users -- particularly highly mobile users -- onto voice services in the cloud using Office Communications Online. However, the voice service does require use of a session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking provider to provide connectivity to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

At this point, Microsoft has one SIP trunking provider, Global Crossing, signed up for the new voice service, according to Topal's post.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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