Microsoft today said they were launching their Microsoft Office Live online service into beta. Geared towards small business owners, this new product offers up a set of Internet-based businessservices. Microsoft Office Live, said Microsoft, will cost nothing to try out during the beta. Three Microsoft Office Live versions will beincluded during the initial public release, with final versions coming late this year. Details on the three services, as detailed in a Microsoft press release, are as follows:
- Microsoft Office Live Basics. A collection of free services (advertising-supported) will provide a small business with the core requirements for establishing an online identity. Services include a company domain name; five e-mail accounts using that company domain name, each with 2 GB of storage; a Web site with 30 MB of file storage space; an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop design tool for creating a compelling, professional-quality Web site; and the Microsoft Office Live Site Reports tool for monitoring and analyzing Web site traffic.
- Microsoft Office Live Collaboration. Designed for small businesses that may already have a Web site, this subscription offering provides a rich, versatile set of Internet-based business management tools that are managed and maintained by Microsoft. Based on Microsoft Windows(R) SharePoint(R) Services technology, the Microsoft Office Live Collaboration service offers small businesses password-protected online workspaces (intranets and extranets). Capabilities include customer management, project management, sales and marketing management, employee management, and company administration, as well as password-protected internal shared sites to facilitate collaboration among employees, customers, suppliers and other business partners.
- Microsoft Office Live Essentials. A comprehensive set of business services, this subscription offering will provide customers with the resources and collaboration tools they need to establish and manage a small business online. Services include a company domain name; 50 e-mail accounts using that company domain name, each with 2 GB of storage; a Web site with 50 MB of file storage space; the same Web design tool as Microsoft Office Live Basics, plus Microsoft Office FrontPage(R) support for advanced Web design; more advanced Web site analytics; and a rich set of Internet-based applications to help small-business owners streamline and automate daily business tasks, such as management of customers, projects and documents.
All three services are designed to work independently or in conjunction with Microsoft Office. “The Internet is crucial to running a successful business today, and companies thatdon’t have at least an online presence risk missing out,” said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division, in a statement. “With Microsoft Office Live, we are making online servicesavailable for small businesses to create an enterprise-like IT infrastructure for them without the management requirements. Our goal is to make it easy and affordable for small businesses to have amore customizable Internet-based solution.”