Microsoft Office Live – Moving Smaller Business Online. Easy. Fast. Economical.

Yesterday, Microsoft took the wraps off of its latest online (hosted solution) offering, Microsoft Office Live. This online resource is aimed at YOU, to help you more easily, more efficiently and at a lower cost build a web site and collaborate online.
I’ve given Microsoft Office Live’s web site designer tool a try and must say…I really like it and found it fun to use. See my Spa web site here. I added a table with drag and drop and a mapping tool as well.

At first blush, Microsoft Office Live (MOL) appears to be another version and offer the same services of Microsoft’s Small Business online services which does give you a way to build your web site, do ecommerce and market online. However, Microsoft Office Live is different…
You’ll find right away that during the beta period Microsoft Office Live (MOL) is free. After the beta period the “light” version of MOL will remain free and supported by advertising while the more robust versions will cost $30 per month with no advertising. You can take the time to try it out and see if it is for you.
Once again, as technology evolves you and millions of other small businesses without web sits will quickly realize that there is NO excuse for not having a web site.
Dean Nicolls, Microsoft Sr. Project Manager Information Worker Services explained to me that there’s plenty of room for variety in MOL. With 50,000 different configurations for building a web site, including 25 different industry templates with photos your web site does not have to have a cookie-cutter feel to it and be like other template based web sites.
The other really cool thing about Microsoft Office Live is that it has drag and drop capabilities online. Usually you’d think drag and drop is only for a computer based program but Microsoft Office Live, like other programs emerging on the market is getting more like a program you would install on your computer.
I encourage you to check out Microsoft’s new service for yourself and tell me what you think. Like most Microsoft online services you must use Microsoft Internet Explorer and to sign you’ll need your Microsoft Office product key.
There’s three levels of service:
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; a 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. $30/month after the beta – Designed for small businesses that may already have a Web site, this subscription offering provides a 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. $30/month – This subscription offering provides 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 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.