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Microsoft Launches Office Live Out Of Beta

Microsoft on Wednesday launched Office Live out of beta. The online service offers small businesses Web site hosting and tools for managing their finances, customers, and sales.

Office Live, which targets businesses of 10 employees or less, offers online design tools for building Web sites. Customers can also buy ads on Microsoft's Web properties through its AdManager platform.

Other services include a contact manager for storing and organizing customer and sales information and making it available to people within an organization. In addition, the online service has been integrated with Microsoft's Office Accounting Express 2007, which helps small-business owners manage everyday financial tasks. The software also provides tools to sell products through eBay, receive payments via PayPal, and monitor credit through Equifax.

In January, Toshiba and Sony are scheduled to add links to Office Live in their notebooks for easy access, Microsoft said. At the same time, Best Buy plans to offer support for Office Live customers through its Geek Squad service.

Office Live is being offered at three levels of service: Basics, Essentials, and Premium. The first is available at no charge, the second for $19.95 a month, and the third for $39.95 a month. The service had been available for free while it was in beta.

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