Microsoft launches Office Live beta

office%20live%20beta%20logo News Press Release

Microsoft Corp. today announced the beta availability of Microsoft Office Live (http://www.OfficeLive.com), 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.
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"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."

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.

The OfficeLive website is now up: http://officelive.microsoft.com/. As we announced earlier this week, pricing will start from a reasonable $29.95 for Collaboration and Essentials once the beta has finished.

Update: No product keys have been sent out yet. We'll let you know when they have been distributed. In the mean time you can view Joe Wilcox's sample website at http://banterbahn.com/default.aspx.