Microsoft’s Office Live and Google’s Apps for Domains offer a variety of hosted solutions designed for smaller businesses and right now these offerings are free. Small Biz Resource has a side to side review of both solutions, which you’ll find useful as you consider one solution for your needs.
If using Microsoft Office is very important to you, you might want to go with Office Live for full integration into Microsoft’s suite of products. However, if Microsoft compatibility is not that important to you then Google is a very good option.
Don’t forget, there’s many other vendors like BlueTie, MI8 and so many others such as WebexOne, eUnify.net and others that offer similar, hosted application features.
Small Biz Resource writes If you believe Google and Microsoft, small business salvation is at hand. Both have recently launched free — yes, that’s right, free — services for small businesses. Google offers Google Apps For Your Domain, while Microsoft has its Microsoft Office Live Basics. Both services are currently in beta, and both in essence function as loss leaders, because both Google and Microsoft will offer fuller featured for-pay versions of the services. (Microsoft offers Office Live Collaboration for $29.95 per month and Office Live Essentials for $29.95 per month, while Google has not yet announced the name and pricing of its for-pay service.)
Which one is best for your organization? I put them through their paces side by side. Overall, as you’ll see, Google’s service beats Microsoft’s because of its superior e-mail, and because it offers a calendar, something that Microsoft does not. But if your primary focus is on Web site building, you’ll instead want to use Microsoft’s service.