Windows Live Office: Overview

Dennis Faas's picture

The Windows Live initiative is a fascinating adventure which I've written about previously and includes many different products: mostly online tools. See:

Windows Lives beyond Your Computer in 'Web 2.0'

Windows Live: Is it Worth It?

Windows Live: Is it Worth It?, Part 2

In coming months, we will be seeing familiar things taking on this new name and offer additional features. Spaces at MSN (an entity in the blogging industry) is due to morph into "Live Spaces", and the beloved MSN Messenger will be transforming to "Live Messenger."

In this article, I want to overview Microsoft Office Live beta, which comes in three flavors:

  • Microsoft Office Live Basics: provides you with a domain name, web space (30MB), custom email address (example:, and a tool to create your site with no special skills.
  • Microsoft Office Live Collaboration: adds Shared Sites and business applications to the above, allowing 10 users to work in a password protected online area. The business applications are highly configurable from a Customer database to Employee and Expenses, Project management, Assets -- and even a Product database that could feasibly show Price and availability while tracking inventory.
  • Microsoft Office Live Essentials: adds to the above more space, website traffic reporting and mailboxes, but more importantly it allows for support of FrontPage and Outlook, so some features are available offline with a local installation of Office 2003 (not supplied). Clearly, this is aimed at the small business market with no budget for an IT department. It allows average users without any special skills to generate an impressive web presence. For example, it includes information sharing tools for a mobile sales force or to manually make selected product information available for clients in a password protected form, and even to produce an online catalog of products.

As they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words," so look at a product comparison I made using the Basic Live Office. For more details or to apply for your own, start at Microsoft Office Live.

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