BT is to become an online provider for Microsoft software under a newly announced deal. The carrier will provide online access to Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Office Communications and Office Live Meeting, which all form part of the Business Productivity Online Suite.

BT said it would offer a "fully-hosted managed service" for businesses wanting to use the software. The provider added tnat the services would include power, performance management, maintenance and software upgrades.

Later this year, BT will integrate the suite with its Global Onevoice service, using SIP capabilities in its virtual private network platform. This will enable it to offer unified communications as part of the same deal, it said.

Clients using the service will be able to tailor voice and IT services to include single-number reach, SIP trunking, attendant console, and premise-based audio conferencing.

Neil Sutton, VP at BT Global Services, said: "This agreement enables BT and Microsoft to provide large organisations with fully integrated cloud-based business collaboration tools, while reducing their overall networked IT and infrastructure costs."