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Microsoft Office Live Makes Debut

Small businesses gain access to IT solutions.

Microsoft launched its Office Live suite of online business software in the U.S. on Nov. 15 and said it would release test versions in Europe and Japan next week. Internet-based Office Live applications geared to small businesses were available in a free "Basics" version and in an upgraded "Essentials" package costing $19.95 monthly and a "Premium" version for $39.95.

Free beta, or trial, versions of Office Live would be available in France, Britain, Germany, and Japan beginning November 21, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft billed the suite of software as a tool for businesses to create websites, attract customers and manage their affairs. "Most small businesses lack IT expertise," said Microsoft vice president Rajesh Jha. "Office Live is a one-stop shop that levels the playing field for companies with 10 or fewer employees by providing software and services that make a big difference."

Japanese electronics giants Toshiba and Sony will put Internet links to Office Live on notebook computers and laptops beginning next year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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