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Office Live Coming Nov. 15 (With Increased Storage)

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Microsoft has announced the final release of Office Live will be on November 15, bringing a great set of web services to small businesses at low (or no) cost.

Small businesses that don’t have an online presence can use Office Live to create a powerful website, one that can handle everything involved with doing business on the internet.

More than 160,000 small businesses tested Office Live during the beta program, providing important feedback that Microsoft has incorporated into the upcoming release. New features that will help small businesses with their sales and marketing needs include Office Live adManager Beta; integration with Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007; enhanced Web design tools and templates; additional storage space; additional company branded e-mail accounts and calendars; and the ability to chat online via text, voice or mobile phone with employees, customers and colleagues using their own company domain name with Windows Live Messenger. In addition, Office Live Business Contact Manager, a tool to help small companies manage business relationships in an organized and effective way, will be available in subscription-based Office Live offerings.

The final release has one cool new feature: A Live version of Business Contact Manager, “which enables a business to organize accounts, contacts and sales opportunities from a single online location”. Office Live features the most amazing AJAX-based website creation tools I have ever seen, putting similar features from Google and others to shame.

Amazingly, the Basics version of Office Live is still free, even after beta. Office Live Basics features a free domain name, a 500 megabyte website, 25 Office Live email accounts (each with 2 gigabytes of storage) with calendaring, IM through your corporate email account names, all the powerful webdesign tools of Office Live, and a Microsoft Office Live adManager Beta for managing ad campaigns on Windows Live Search.

Office Live Essentials costs $19.95 a month and ups it to 1 gigabyte of storage, 50 email, calendar and IM accounts, plus online workspaces for 10 users with up to 500 megabytes of storage space, offline access through Outlook and Windows-Mobile, and two extra powerful online business applications. Offile Live Premium is $39.95 a month, goes up to 2 gigabytes of storage, 20 additional workspaces with 1 gigabyte of storage, and extra automating tools.

LiveSide notes that Microsoft is relaunching Office Online on November 13, and that any web-based Office suite won’t be anytime soon, maybe two generations down the line. Mary Jo Foley notes that Microsoft has delayed Office Live Collaboration, not releasing it this month.

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Office Live Coming Nov. 15 (With Increased Storage)
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