Microsoft has announced version 2 of Office Live, and besides new features, they’ve gotten rid of one really important thing: The monthly fee. There is only one version of Office Live, and it’s the free one, with users paying for extra features, instead. Office Live Small Business offers a free domain name for the first year ($14.95 a year afterward), 100 business email accounts, a contact manager, document storage and sharing, collaborative online workspaces, a project manager and round-the-clock support.
Office Live’s 600,000 customers should be plenty happy with the removal of the premium tier and the premium features that are moving to the free (and only) tier. If you can bring your own domain, Office Live could be a great email management/collaborative workspace/contact manager add-on for existing sites. Those without existing websites can, of course, let Office Live run everything for them, and not pay a dime.
The best add-on appears to be the Store Manager, allowing site owners to create full-on web stores for forty bucks a month.
One such paid service is Store Manager, a hosted e-commerce offering for $39.95 per month, that will help customers sell products on their own site, as well as on eBay. (Microsoft is planning to support other e-commerce sites with future releases, officials said.) Another example: Custom domain name and e-mail support, which will provide customers with private domain-name registration, plus 100 company-branded e-mail addresses, each with 5 GB of storage. Microsoft is offering that service for free for the first year and $14.95 per year after that.