Office goes Live in the UK

Microsoft’s Office Live program will start its beta phase in the UK on the 21st of November.

Office goes Live in the UK

The service, which went live in the US yesterday after a 9-month trial period, is aimed at non-tech savvy small businesses looking to get an online foothold. Similar launches are being made in France, Germany and Japan.

Rather than being an online version of Microsoft’s Office suite in the manner of Google’s Docs & Spreadsheets, Office Live focuses on online collaboration and website creation – those familiar with Microsoft’s SharePoint V3 services will recognise much of the interface, as will those who’ve signed up to Windows Live Mail.

All three packages are free throughout the beta phase, although charges will made to two of them early next year when the service launches. The lowest-end offering, Office Live Basics, includes a free non-branded domain name, 500MB of hosted space, 25 branded email addresses, plus a number of template-based website creation tools.

Advertising will be displayed on the management portal, but not on any website created with the package.

The Office Live Essentials package will cost £11.99 (exc VAT) per month and adds an online version of Business Contact Manager, document sharing workspaces, plus 50 email addresses and 1GB of website storage.

At the top-end, the £22.99 (exc VAT) per month Office Live Premium increases the storage to 2GB, and includes online project and task-management tools.

All the packages include varying levels of access to Microsoft’s AdCenter for promoting your site, but there are no direct e-commerce options – these will be provided by partners, and there’s no restriction on using third-party options such as Paypal.

You can sign up for a trial here.

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