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Friday, November 03, 2006

Office Live : Pushing The Frontiers

One of the great things about the internet is that it’s a sort of leveler. It does not respect big or small, rich or poor, race, color etc. Besides its such an empowering medium for those who embrace it. Microsoft, generally considered a laggard in embracing the net, has come out with a new service offering.
David Pogue reviews the much talked about Office Live.
Office Live is a suite of services, mostly free, to help the little guy get into the game of online sales and marketing. It’s intended for small businesses, but individuals can use it, too. In Office Live, Microsoft has vaporized a number of obstacles that once stood between tiny start-ups and the big time: the cost and hassle of establishing a proper Web site, the complexity and expense of playing the search-engine ad game, and the headache of maintaining proper books. Office Live is no insane giveaway. The finished Office Live is light-years better than the clunky beta version that Microsoft says 175,000 small businesses have been testing. Microsoft makes no pretense: Office Live is intended to make money. But it will do so very cleverly, sometimes almost invisibly. Microsoft hopes that if it helps your business along enough, you’ll eventually upgrade your free account to one of the more elaborate paid plans. To many analysts, the significance of Office Live isn’t the small-business tools; it’s Microsoft’s big step into the new world of Web-based software. Surely, the gurus say, this is the future of software. Imagine: No viruses! Instant upgrades! Access from any PC in the world!

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