Microsoft's Office Live Team announced that the next version of their suite of online business tools is now available. This web-based service for small businesses would be available in the US, UK, Japan, France and Germany. Furthermore a new e-mail marketing system and improved free Web design tools are among the many new features and enhancements. Additionally, Office Live Small Business will support Firefox 2.0 and would offer additional free online business applications to help small businesses manage customer data and more.
"We're particularly excited as they include a much improved version of adManager which enables businesses who have built their websites using the Office Live platform, to quickly and easily access great converting pay-per-click traffic on Live Search and MSN." stated Microsoft.
Some of the important features of the suite are:
Advanced design capabilities including the ability to customize the entire page, including header, footer, navigation, page layouts, and more.
Support for Firefox 2.0 means Office Live Small Business tools and features are now compatible with Macs.
Simple Sign up process allows small-business owners to get started quicker. Users no longer have to choose a domain name at signup or enter their credit card information, and they get a free custom domain name and business e-mail for the first two years.
Office Live Small Business E-mail now includes 100 company-branded accounts free, each with 5 GB of storage to help businesses communicate professionally.
Domain flexibility allows businesses to obtain their domain name through any provider and redirect it to Office Live Small Business, as well as increased flexibility to add and designate primary domains.
Synchronisation with Microsoft Office Outlook provides customers access to vital business information such as their Office Live Small Business e-mail, contacts, calendars, and tasks both online and offline.
E-Mail Marketing Beta enables users to stay connected to current customers and introduce themselves to new ones by sending regular e-mail newsletters, promotions, and updates. (Free during beta.)
Contact Manager is the foundation of customer marketing. The improved user interface that enables customers to find and add contacts more efficiently. (Free)
adManager is now easier to use and allows users to advertise across multiple search engines, including MSN and Live Search (Pay-per-click pricing.)
Manage Your Business
Business Applications is integrated with the Office Live Small Business Workspace and Document Manager features in this release, making them even easier to use. A new sidebar that makes it easier to see user permissions, add new users to a workspace, and share data. (Free)
Reports have been updated to allow for integrated reporting for adManager, E-mail Marketing Beta, and Web site traffic into one central reporting experience, giving users a unified view of their marketing campaigns. (Free)
Homepage Gadgets have been updated to include additional gadgets such as a Reports gadget that shows users at a glance the number of unique visitors and page views for the current week and the previous two weeks. (Free)
You can sign up for it here