Apparently a new stage has been added to the Microsoft announce process. Yesterday there was the rumor that the Office Live beta would be announced Wednesday. Ordinarily that would be followed in due course by the announcement. Now there’s an intermediate step where Microsoft confirms the rumor and provides all the details, but doesn’t actually announce the offering as Elizabeth Montalbano reports at InfoWorld:
Microsoft plans to give users a first look at its Office Live hosted service on Wednesday, according to the company.
Microsoft plans to offer the service in three versions, one of which will be advertising-supported and free of charge to customers.
All three versions — Microsoft Office Live Basics, Microsoft Office Live Collaboration, and Microsoft Office Live Essentials — will be a part of the beta program. Office Live Basics will be free, while pricing for the other two will start at a subscription price of $29.95 a month.
All will be free during the beta program.
Microsoft plans to release public versions of all three Office Live editions in late 2006.
Customers that want to participate in the beta program can begin by registering online at http://www.OfficeLive.com beginning at 6:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday, according to the company.
At this point, all the announcement tomorrow will do is mark the day users can actually begin signing up.