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Office software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Microsoft Office Live Small Business (MOLSB) review

From free, depending on number of users

Manufacturer: Microsoft

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Microsoft's Office Live Web service was designed for small businesses that needed an easy solution for creating websites and business emails. Microsoft Office Live Small Business offers a single service with a number of pay-for add-ons.

Microsoft's Office Live Web service was designed for small businesses that needed an easy solution for creating websites and business emails. Microsoft Office Live Small Business offers a single service with a number of pay-for add-ons.

Microsoft's Office Live Web service was designed for small businesses that needed an easy, low-cost solution for creating and hosting websites and business-branded emails.

When Microsoft Office Live Web was first introduced in November 2006, there were three versions: Basics, Essentials and Premium. The latest, reconfigured version - now called Microsoft Office Live Small Business (MOLSB) - simplifies things by offering a single service with a number of pay-for add-ons.

The free web-building, web-hosting and email service adds a selection of online business applications such as a contact manager and document repository, and it offers several for-pay add-on services to promote your site or help you sell products online.

While many providers can offer an online service or two, a sharable spreadsheet, or a word-processing application, we haven't found any that also include an integrated interface for a web-design tool and basic (mostly free) online applications that enable your company's shared data can be accessed anywhere.

Our only complaint: Microsoft Office Live Small Business's response time is sluggish throughout all the modules we tested when compared with other online services (especially Intuit's QuickBase), even though we were using a broadband connection.

We'll chalk up Microsoft Office Live Small Business's below-average performance to the fact that we tested a prerelease version of the service, but performance is something that Microsoft will want to boost if the service is to be truly valuable.

The one sure reason you'll abandon a service, even one that's as useful and low-cost as Microsoft Office Live Small Business, is if you spend more time impatiently tapping your fingers on your desk than productively tapping them on your keyboard.

NEXT PAGE: the payment plan, and creating a website > >

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Microsoft Office Live Small Business Expert Verdict »

Internet Explorer 6 or later
Windows XP/Vista/Server 2003
Firefox 2.0, running on Windows XP/Server 2003/Vista/Mac OS X 10.2.x
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 8 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

While we're sad to see that Microsoft no longer offers a "free custom domain for life" option, paying $14.95 a year after the first year for basic web design, document sharing and an online common team area for five users is still a steal, especially when you consider that it includes a year's worth of hosting. The first year is free, and because a credit card is no longer needed to sign up, you need invest nothing but a few hours of your time to see how you like the service. We found setup and customisation of the business applications quick and easy. True, the web designer isn't for members of the Dreamweaver set - who will find it woefully underpowered - and an MOLSB website won't be confused with one designed by a full-time, professional graphics designer and code guru. But that's not MOLSB's target audience. The company is going for users who want to get a site up and running with a minimum of fuss and with virtually no technical skills and at no cost -- especially small businesses on a shoestring budget that need to share data among employees and that don't have time to spend learning several new products. For this demographic, Microsoft Office Live Small Business' integrated, easy-to-navigate interface is ideal.


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