Microsoft looks set to unveil the full commercial offering of its cloud application suite, Office 365, on 28 June.
Microsoft has been heavily promoting the application service to enterprises and small businesses as a way of cutting IT costs and increasing the flexibility of software infrastructures.
"June 28th is the date for general availability of Office 365," said Jon Roskill, corporate vice president of Microsoft's worldwide partner group, in a Twitter post. "100,000 real customers on beta. Partners, are you ready?"
Last month Steve Ballmer mentioned that Microsoft was beefing up the Office portfolio and Azure's cloud capabilities over the coming months.
Analysts predicted a June launch for the package, although based on early briefings, Office 365 won't offer the full functionality found in installed Office software.
Microsoft is expected to offer around a dozen purchasing options for the service, depending on the type of applications needed and the number of users. Volume discounts will be significantly lower than those for the installed software.
Microsoft has already won significant contracts to supply the cloud Office applications and is looking to expand the reach of the software to augment, and possibly supersede, its existing installed Office suite.
Office 365 will be fighting chiefly against Google's Apps service, which has been available for longer, but lacks the Microsoft brand.
Wes Miller, research vice president of analyst house Directions on Microsoft, told V3.co.uk: "The key thing to this is that it's Microsoft.
"The message from Microsoft is that this product is Office online, and when most companies think of business applications they think of Office. It's going to be very hard to beat that."
Larger companies that may have existing enterprise licensing deals with Microsoft will have to make a detailed cost analysis before moving part or all of their users onto the system, Miller said, but for small and medium sized companies the cost/benefit equations of Office 365 look very good indeed.
Microsoft will push the service aggressively, he said, but initial discounts are unlikely.
Pricing indications are that the software will be as competitive as anything else on the market, and Microsoft has worked hard on ways to ease the move to the cloud.
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