As part of a concerted effort to become more involved with small (read: very small) businesses, Microsoft has introduced a number of new products and features, among them Small Business Accounting and Windows Live Domains, and now the upcoming Office Live, which will incorporate features of the other two and more to offer a package deal for small businesses looking to make better use of their computing power.
Imagine a very small business, one with a few pc's connected to a network, perhaps a business server, and a desire to create a web presence, to consolidate mail and storage services, and to manage the business smartly and efficiently. There's certainly no IT department, or even a web savvy geek on staff, to get up and running online, and to manage the business. In the past there just hasn't been very much support for these kinds of businesses, even though there's lots of them around. Of course there are tools available to do the kinds of things that Office Live proposes to do already, but it's almost a full time job to find them, cobble them together, and make them work. In the real world, for a small business, there just isn't that kind of time.
So it's an interesting concept, one that could help small businesses grow (and hey, think they'll keep using Microsoft products as they do?). Office Live was announced last November, and beta should be released any day now. We'll keep you posted on the progress. Stay tuned.