Office goes Live
Microsoft’s Office Web services will go live in the States and appear in beta form in the UK on 15 November
The US will lead the way, ahead of the UK and Europe, when it comes to Microsoft rolling out its Office Live set of Web services, which are aimed at helping small companies manage business contacts, calendars and online communications.
After months of testing, Microsoft plans to launch the software in the US on 15 November 15. On the same day it will roll out a beta version in the UK, France, Germany and Japan.
In a change from the test product it released in February, Office Live will also include a feature to allow small business owners to buy advertisements, tied to certain keywords, to appear alongside Microsoft’s Live Search results.
By making it easier for small businesses to buy up keywords, Microsoft plans to peck away at Google’s lead in the online search advertising market.
The company will offer a free, ad-supported version of Office Live that includes Web hosting, 25 company-branded e-mail accounts a shared calendar and access to Microsoft’s advertising platform.
There will two subscription-based versions at $19.95 (approx £10 pounds) a month and $39.95 (approx £15) a month. Both versions come with more storage and more email accounts than in the free basic offering.
Microsoft first unveiled Office Live, in a beta for the US, in February of this year, following an announcement by Bill Gates of general Live services in November 2005.
‘These new offerings demonstrate how software is evolving through the power of services in ways that enable more dynamic and relevant experiences for people,’ he declared. ‘Our goal is to make Windows, Office and Xbox further come alive for our customers at work, home and play.’
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