It’s somewhat anticlimactic since most of the details were released last month, but Microsoft Office Live became generally available in the USA today:
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.
Perhaps more interesting was the appeal to partners to build small business solutions using Office Live:
This new offering provides a wide range of opportunities for Microsoft Corp. partners and solution developers to tap into the most underserved segment of the IT market — small and home-based businesses — especially those with fewer than 10 employees, which represent nearly 20 million businesses in the United States, according to 2005 data from AMI Partners.
Office Live enables solution developers and service providers to cost-effectively drive revenue by targeting and acquiring new customers in the often untapped small-business segment. Partners in the retail and OEM segments can take part in pilot programs and influence the Office Live partner models for the future.
It seems that only a few third party developers have taken advantage of Office Live so far, but Microsoft would apparently dearly love to have more.