Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Office Live Set for Release November 15

Microsoft said Tuesday that it would bring its Office Live service out of beta in the United States on November 15, while at the same time launching new free betas in France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. With the official release also comes new functionality, it said.
According to Microsoft, nearly 160,000 businesses tested out the service's various features, and through that feedback it has made several changes.
Integration with adCenter has been added, along with new Web design tools, more storage, additional e-mail accounts, chatting online through text, voice, or mobile phone, and Windows Live Messenger support. A contact manager has also been added to the suite of offerings for higher-level accounts.
Office Live corporate vice president Rajesh Jha said that most small businesses lack the IT departments and knowledge to create applications that enhance their businesses. Thus, Microsoft has created Office Live to fill that void, he said.
With the new adCenter support, small businesses would gain the ability to purchase advertising for their businesses across Microsoft's Web properties. The contact manager will help these companies better maintain their business relationships, Microsoft said.
Microsoft will also allow more control over Web site design in the new release, allowing users to use custom HTML code. However, if users decide to use the templates, better JavaScript and AJAX support would make "drag and drop" design more easy for those not familiar with Web design.

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