Microsoft Office Live Is Now LIVE in the U.S. and Available in Beta in France, Germany, U.K. and Japan
Nov. 15, 2006
Small businesses in the U.S. to receive special deals from Best Buy and Toshiba.

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 15, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of Microsoft® Office Live in the United States at http://www.officelive.com after being in beta for nine months, and its free beta availability in Japan, France, the U.K. and Germany on Nov. 21. Customers can sign up for Office Live, a complete, affordable set of Internet-based software and services that help small businesses attract new customers, keep in touch with existing customers, generate repeat business, and easily manage their business while on the go.

“Most small businesses lack IT expertise,” said Rajesh Jha, corporate vice president for Microsoft Office Live at Microsoft. “Office Live is a one-stop shop that levels the playing field for companies with 10 or fewer employees by providing software and services that make a big difference; Office Live can impact business growth and profitability. Small businesses that sign up for Microsoft Office Live will now find it easier and cheaper than ever before to build and manage their business online. I’m confident that our industry partners will do a fantastic job of helping customers get started on Office Live.”

Microsoft Office Live provides an open platform for partners on which they can build customized or industry-specific software applications and deliver services for their customers.

In addition, Microsoft is committed to enlisting the breadth of partners already part of the company’s ecosystem to drive revenue in the online services market and has joined with Best Buy, Toshiba and Sony in January 2007 to make it even easier for customers to have access to Office Live in the 50 United States and District of Columbia. Best Buy, and its small business-focused business unit Best Buy for Business, will enable customers to add Office Live to other technology purchases in retail stores nationwide and will provide targeted support to Office Live customers through the Geek Squad 24 Hour Computer Support Task Force®. Best Buy will also offer value cards so that customers may sign up and get three months of service for the price of one with Office Live subscription services.

Toshiba and Sony will provide a link to Office Live from the desktops of their notebook computers and laptops as well as through relevant Web sites and online tools so that customers may access the product easily.

“Toshiba innovation is ultimately about finding ways to help customers improve their lives,” said Kevin Johnson, director of alliance marketing for the Digital Products Division of Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. “Which is why we are teaming up with Microsoft to provide immediate, out-of-the box access to Office Live — tools that small companies can use to improve their businesses.”

New Today to Office Live

Today’s release of Office Live contains new features as a result of the feedback from many of the more than 160,000 customers who participated in the beta program. Microsoft Office Live adManager beta is designed to allow small businesses to easily purchase keywords on Live.com and MSN® to drive traffic to their Web site and optimize their search advertising budget. Microsoft Office Live Business Contact Manager allows small businesses to keep all their customers, contact histories and sales information in one place and make it accessible to everyone in the organization. Integration with Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 and third-party fee-based services helps small-business owners manage everyday financial tasks, get organized, and do business online with tools to sell on eBay, receive payments via PayPal and monitor credit via Equifax.

Microsoft Office Live also provides updated Web site design tools to allow users to easily drag and drop content and images into any section of their Web site using asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) technology. It includes more page templates and the ability to modify and import HTML to create more robust and sophisticated Web sites. For customers with a Web site managed by another provider, Microsoft Office Live further streamlines the process of transferring domain names for greater ease of use.

Three Levels of Service Available

Current beta users will gradually make the transition to the latest release over the next several months, and small businesses will be able to choose one of the three levels of service for Office Live to find the help suited to their unique needs at http://www.officelive.com. Microsoft Office Live Basics is a collection of free services that allows small businesses to get started on the Web and to attract new customers; Microsoft Office Live Essentials includes all the tools, software and support provided with Office Live Basics and adds powerful new features for contact management to help generate repeat business for $19.95 a month; and Microsoft Office Live Premium includes all the offerings in Office Live Basics and Office Live Essentials as well as additional online business applications and collaboration tools that can be easily accessed for $39.95 a month.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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