Microsoft starts beta trial for Office Live services

Microsoft announced the beta availability of its three MS Office Live services. Previewed last fall, Office Live combines the power of software and services for small companies that want a presence online.

Office Live services will range from free domain name, Web site and company email accounts to more comprehensible services available on a subscription-fee basis. The beta trial offers free versions of all three Office Live services included in the initial public release. Office Live Basics is a collection of free services (advertising-supported) intended to provide a small business with the core requirements for establishing an online identity. Office Live Collaboration, made for small businesses that may already have a Web site, is a subscription service that provides a set of Internet-based business management tools that are managed and maintained by Microsoft. Office Live Essentials is a subscription service that gives users resources and collaboration tools to help them establish and manage a small business online.

All three Microsoft Office Live services are designed to work independently, as well as to integrate with other Microsoft Office programs. They are being offered free of charge to U.S. businesses during the beta program. Microsoft plans to offer beta programs later this year in international markets. The final versions of the three Office Live services are expected in late 2006. For more information or to register for the beta program, visit the site.