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Microsoft Launches Beta Program for Microsoft Office Live ServicesInternet-based services include free Web site, domain name and e-mail accounts. (February 16, 2006) Microsoft Office Live, offering small-business customers a cost-free opportunity to experience the company's new Internet-based software services firsthand. A milestone for the online services previewed last fall, Microsoft Office Live combines the power of software and services to deliver rich and seamless experiences to small companies that want a presence online.
Microsoft Office Live helps lower the barriers to doing business online by offering small companies a set of Internet-based business services. Designed for ease of use and affordability, the online services are designed to give small businesses the same advantages as larger enterprises by getting them up and running on the Internet quickly, easily and inexpensively.
"The Internet is crucial to running a successful business today, and companies that don't have at least an online presence risk missing out," said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division. "With Microsoft Office Live, we are making online services available 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 a more customizable Internet-based solution."
Levels of Service to Meet Small-Business Needs
Microsoft plans to offer Office Live offerings that will range from free domain name, Web site and company e-mail accounts that are advertising-supported to more comprehensible services available on a subscription-fee basis. The offerings can be especially attractive to companies with 10 or fewer employees, which typically lack in-house technical resources or the budget to keep an IT person on staff.
An all-in-one solution supported by online advertising, the beta trial offers free versions of all three Microsoft Office Live versions included in the initial public release:
- 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 SharePoint 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 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.
Beta Pricing and Availability
Microsoft Office Live Basics, Microsoft Office Live Essentials and Microsoft Office Live Collaboration are being offered free of charge to customers during the beta program. Customers interested in participating in the beta program are invited to register online at http://www.OfficeLive.com.
Microsoft expects to release the final public versions of all three Microsoft Office Live services in late 2006. Although at this time the beta program is open only to U.S. businesses, Microsoft plans to offer beta programs later this year in international markets.
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