Office Live - what is it?

As you might have guessed from my post on March 31 about dragging mail to the Date Navigator to make an appointment, I had a meeting on Friday morning to learn more about Office Live. I went into the presentation expecting to learn why it was important to have online wordprocessing of some such thing, but I was completely wrong - Office Live is the start of something really cool for small businesses.

Turns out that Office Live is all about giving small business an online presence - for free - and providing extra tools for a nominal fee (approximately $29.95 a month.) After talking to small business owners at the NAPO conference, I think OfficeLive will be great for them, especially as they use it with the next version of Office ;-).

There are three levels of Office Live - Office Live Basics, Office Live Collaboration, and Office Live Essentials. Office Live Basics is free and includes a website with a domain that the customer owns (not Microsoft), and 5 free e-mail accounts with their domain, each with 2GBs of storage. It also includes an online tool to build the website and online web traffic monitoring so that customers can monitor how many people visit their site. Here is just a tidbit that might get some of you interested in Office Live Basics:

Use your calendar to interact with others: You can schedule and invite people to meetings, or even share your calendar with anyone who has a Microsoft Passport account.

Office Live Collaboration and Office Live Essentials each include more business related tools. The Collaboration package includes shared calendaring, to-do lists (oh my!), employee management tools, project management tools, contact management tools, etc. (There is a lot there.) The big deal with Office Live Collaboration is the ability to created shared sites - an intranet for your small business. One of the cool features is that you can create an internal site for a project, and then share that site with your customers. Office Live Essentials combines aspects of Office Live Basics and Office Live Collaboration. For a full comparison, click here

In any case, I thought it was pretty cool. For more, check out their blog: