Office Live Nearly Live

Microsoft said Tuesday that its Office Live hosted SharePoint infrastructure is set to go live Nov. 15.



Office Live is getting closer to live.

Microsoft's hosted SharePoint infrastructure for small businesses will indeed go live in the United States on Nov. 15, Microsoft said Tuesday.

The various services have been in beta for months. The final product will include tighter links to Microsoft's AdManager and Office Accounting Express 2007, the new, low-end free accounting package launched on Monday.

Three free and paid options are available. At the low end, Office Live Basics brings 500 Mbytes of storage, Web tools, site reports, instant messaging, e-mail, calendar and the Accounting Express application. For $19.95 per month, users can get a custom Web site, Workspaces and business applications for 10 users, a business contact manager and toll-free support.

The Premium edition, priced at $39.95 per month, gets all of the above plus Project Manager, Sales, Document Manager, Time Manager and other applications.

Office Live, along with Windows Live, is a big part of Microsoft's attempt to blunt Google's incursion on its own turf. The effort, which crosses traditional Microsoft product group boundaries, is being led by CTO and Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie.

Google has its own small business applications foray under way with its free Google Apps Your Business and Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

Also in the pipeline for Microsoft is CRM Live, a hosted CRM implementation for small businesses. Longer term, Microsoft is expected to offer hosted ERP options for business users as well.

November is shaping up as a busy month for the Redmond, Wash., software giant. The company's planned launch for Office 2007, Windows Vista and Exchange 2007 products is on for Nov. 30 in New York. And next week, Microsoft is slated to host its first Microsoft Business Solutions Convergence conference for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in Munich, Germany.

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