Microsoft to add new commerce functionality to Office Live

Microsoft to add new commerce functionality to Office Live

Summary: Microsoft has made available to a select set of private beta testers new commerce functionality that it plans to add to its Office Live services. Office Live Store Manager seems to be a new set of features/functionality that Microsoft is planning to add to one or more of its existing Office Live Small Business SKUs.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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Microsoft has made available to a select set of private beta testers new commerce functionality that it plans to add to its Office Live services.

Office Live Store Manager seems to be a new set of features/functionality that Microsoft is planning to add to one or more of its existing Office Live Small Business SKUs. Store Manager is currently in private beta test with a "few of our select small business customers," blogged Microsoft Technical Specialist James Senior.

"The store manager portion of Office Live enables this small business to have an online store tightly incorporated within their website with the minimum of fuss. Prior to this they had integration with Paypal and had some complicated ASP pages to get around the problem of selling online - hardly something a small business wants to be doing! This encapsulates what Microsoft is trying to achieve with Office Live: a one-stop-shop for all online activities for small business following the mantra of easy to use," Senior explained.

One of the testers of Office Live Store Manager, according to Senior's post, is Larouex Gourmet Foods.

Office Live, in spite of its name, is not a Web-based, hosted version of Microsoft Office. Office Live are a set of Web-based add-ons to Microsoft Office and SharePoint aimed at small- to mid-size business customers. In October 2006, Microsoft rolled out its first three Office Live services: Office Live Basics (free and ad-supported); Office Live Essentials ($19.95 a month per company) and Office Live Premium ($39.95 a month per company). (A fourth member of the family, Office Live Collaboration, never made it out the door and remains in beta test.

In July, Microsoft quietly repositioned its existing set of Office Live services as "Office Live Small Business." Microsoft officials have said the company has plans to go both up and down market with Office Live by rolling out more enterprise-focused Office service add-ons, as well as new Office Live services aimed more directly at individual consumers. So far, Microsoft has made no official announcements on either end of that spectrum.

Microsoft has some serious ambitions for Office Live. In July, Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner said:

“We fully believe and expect in two or three years Office Live will be one of the most deployed, most utilized of all the products that we have in the Microsoft portfolio. Certainly it won’t be as big as Windows in a couple of years, but we do believe it will reach our top three or four largest deployed applications that we have around the world."

I've asked Microsoft for more specifics on Office Live Store Manager, including a date when it will be available to a broader audience. Stay tuned.

Update on September 18: A Microsoft spokesperson sent back the following responses to my questions:

"Microsoft Office Live is committed to providing small businesses a single, easy-to-use solution that addresses a range of small business pain points - core IT services, sales and marketing services and productivity services. As we mentioned last fall with our V1.5 announcement, we see e-commerce as a natural addition to our suite of services. Store Manager is currently in a limited beta and we expect it to go live in the coming months."

Topic: Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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6 comments
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  • Good News! Now...all MSFT has to do is...

    ...come out of their ivory towers and give a damn about main street business AND...caring and timely customer support.

    Office Small Biz will whip them into shape when they see the necessity to curb the hubris and "utility company attitude" and trade it for concerned problem solving with small entrepreneurs across the land.

    Pity the poor guinea pigs the first few years of trial and error! It'll be a rant and rave atmosphere until fine support catches up with Ray Ozzie's vision.

    Maybe the goodness and mercy learned in this division with it's experiencing of what appropriate customer support "should" be vs. the old model of client/server pedantics...will create a model for the whole company?

    Naaaaahhhhhh!

    Microstiff
    rayted32
  • MS Commerce: Beware

    microsoft left me high and dry when they dropped their existing commerce service and provided no way to port my products to another store.

    result: hours and hours of work.

    further result: my trust in microsoft with commerce stores is zero.
    hansonjb
  • RE: Microsoft to add new commerce functionality to Office Live

    This is great! We have been waiting for simple way to display and sell our products online. Right now we have to use static pages to display our products. Good addition to Office Live services. Chris Flooringood at http://www.flooringood.com.
    flooringood
  • Glad To Hear Improvements Are Coming

    Sure MS launched Office Live with the intent of becoming a major revenue stream. I'm OK with that. They helped me kick off a company that I may not have done otherwise. This is all real new to me and MS made it easy. Once the ecommerce function is available, I'll start offering some items for sale from my website.

    www.ecoguardsolutions.com
    hensleyac
    • Link

      [i]www.ecoguardsolutions.com[/i]
      hensleyac
  • Office Live has helped www.moldindiana.com

    We have really benefitted from some of the recent changes. The contact management and document posting specifically. We have EcoGuard Solutions reps all over NW Indiana and sharing information is crutial. Plus www.ecoguardsolutions.com and www.moldindiana.com are much better looking websites.

    CH
    hensleyac