Jen asks today...

"What is the news around [the new] Microsoft Office Live?"

Lots of news on the new Microsoft Online service. There's an interview with Jeff Raikes (posted yesterday)...

"First, Microsoft plans to deliver a wide variety of new solutions over the coming months under two key families of service offerings: “Live” and “Online.” We believe these choices will provide businesses with the flexibility to choose the software and capabilities that best suit their business needs, whether hosted by Microsoft, on-premise with the customer, or hosted by a Microsoft partner.

"As part of this announcement, we are launching Microsoft Office Live Workspace, a Web-based feature of Microsoft Office that enables people to access their documents online anywhere and easily share their work with others. Testing continues on another of our new services offerings, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and I’m thrilled to say that the reception this new offering has received during an early access program has been great."

I've read a bunch of news stories from overnight that refer to this as a "fast follower" and late to market beta as compared with other on-line hosted services for businesses. As I see it, this is a new opportunity that's been in test and trial, with people having signed up for pieces of the puzzle already: more than 450,000 subscribers are on Office Live Small Businesses (formerly called Office Live).

At home, our son, Max, has his own Office Live site as I posted here with his own site, Another Thousand Paintings.  Yes, I help him, but it's been his idea and interest.  If a nine-year-old can use the service...

Of course, being focused on the business as much as the creativity, Max noted the lack of integrated e-commerce tools on the site.

And we have customer pilots with Microsoft Managed Solutions (MMS) with what Jeff refers to as "a targeted to a select group of customers" for managed IT solutions for businesses with 5,000 seats or more. (Less than 400 references on http://search.live.com, but that's bound to increase...).

More info: Office Live Workspace beta will initially be available in English to a limited number of people. Pre-register now to be one of the first to try it.