Office Live Goes Live (In a Beta Sort of Way)
Published: February 22, 2006
by Alex Woodie
In addition to ramping up its new 2007 Microsoft Office suite, Microsoft also announced the first beta program for Office Live, a new offering to give users access to popular productivity applications over the Internet, unveiled in November (see "Microsoft Aims to Streamline Web Experience with "Live" Offerings").
There are three Office Live offerings, including Office Live Basics, Office Live Collaboration, and Office Live Essentials. Office Live Basics will include a domain name, a hosted Web site with 30 MB of storage, five e-mail accounts with their own domain names, a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) Web site designer tool, and Web analytics to analyze the resulting traffic. Office Live Essentials will add to the Basics offering with support for up to 50 e-mail addresses, access to FrontPage for more advanced Web design, and a range of hosted small business applications to automate daily tasks, such as customer management, project management, and document management.
Office Live Collaboration will provide users with hosted access to business management tools managed and maintained by Microsoft, including customer management, project management, document management, and a private Web site for collaborating with employees, customers, suppliers, and contractors. Like Office Live Essentials, this offering can be used on a stand-alone basis or hooked into a customer's existing Microsoft software.
"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," says Jeff Raikes, president of the new Microsoft Business Division. "Our goal is to make it easy and affordable for small businesses to have a more customizable Internet-based solution."
Interested parties can sign up for the Office Live beta test at www.officelive.com. Microsoft says it expects to release the final public versions of its Office Live services in late 2006--about the same time the shrink-wrapped versions of the Office 2007 suite begin to hit store shelves.