We haven’t heard too much about Microsoft’s Office Live collection of online services for small businesses since the open beta started in April, but Elizabeth Montalbano reports at InfoWorld that the product launch and a new service beta are on the way:
Microsoft’s Office Live service is set to go out of beta [in the USA - ed.] Nov. 15, and will eventually offer small businesses a chance to buy ads from rival Google and others, according to a Microsoft executive.
Microsoft will also introduce a beta of a new service at that time, Office Live adManager, which lets users purchase online advertising for Microsoft’s msn.com and Windows Live Search properties, said Baris Cetinok, director of product management for Office Live. And in the next six months, the company also plans to add the ability to let users purchase ads for search engines from Google, Yahoo, Ask.com, and Local.com, he said.
Office Live will be available in three versions: Office Live Basics, which is a stripped-down, free version; Office Live Essentials, which costs $19.95 a month and can support up to 10 users; and Office Live Premium, which costs $39.95 a month and can support up to 20 users.
All three versions will include adManager, as well as another new service called Office Live Business Contact Manager, a CRM service, Cetinok said.
Another change to the full version of Office Live will be a simplified Web-site design tool, Cetinok said. The new tool made it easier for users to bring custom HTML to their Web sites, something beta users requested, he said.
Beta versions will also launch in France, Germany, Japan, and the UK on Nov. 15.
Update: Microsoft today had a press release covering this and Mary Jo Foley has a rundown on what changed between announcement and launch: among other things the collaboration offering was dropped.