Increased broadband penetration and the wider availability of 64-bit computing have persuaded Microsoft to offer corporate Windows users a range of on-demand services.
Before the dotcom crash a number of firms sprang up to offer on-demand services but very few have survived.
Now, with the IT industry in recovery and a better networking infrastructure to carry on-demand services, Microsoft has launched several new services for Windows and Office users, including an on-demand customer relationship management (CRM) system that could rival that offered by Salesforce.com.
Microsoft will offer all the new services via a portal platform that does not require users to download large programs to be able to use them – hence the “on-demand” label.
The Office Live service will be in beta in the first quarter of 2006 and will integrate collaborative services such as document sharing with CRM and other business analysis services for SMEs. Companies can sign up at:
Windows Live will be a bundle of existing services, such as e-mail and instant messaging, with others currently under development. It will also offer an enhanced search engine and a peer-to-peer file sharing network. A beta can be found at:
Existing users of the MSN portal, including Hotmail users, would eventually be moved over to the Windows Live platform. said Microsoft.