Microsoft Live Addresses a Problem that NetOffice Solved… Seven Years Ago

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Microsoft's new online services, which won't be fully assembled and ready until sometime in 2006, are old news to NetOffice users who have had the benefit of online communications and information management since 1998.

NetOffice is the future that Microsoft is trying to catch, according to NetOffice co-founder Gene Roush. "They’re planning to do what we've been doing since 1998," he claims.

While Microsoft continues to cobble together its collection of hosted services, NetOffice, which changed its name from MessageTime in 2004, has been offering an award-winning integrated suite of web-accessible communications and information management tools for more than seven years.

Focus on Small Business

It's a matter of focus, Roush feels. "Microsoft has always targeted enterprise environments -- companies with hundreds or thousands of users, full-time IT staff, and lots of infrastructure. That's out of reach for millions of small businesses," Roush believes, "so we give them the benefits of data and phone networks without their having to invest in hardware, software, installation, and maintenance. We take care of all of that."

"All of that" is a unique combination of phone, fax, call routing, voicemail, and email with calendar, task, contact, and file management plus online file storage that makes information accessible through a browser on any Internet-connected computer -- PC or Mac -- in an office, at home, on the road, or even in the air.

Small Businesses Need Features... and Support

NetOffice is designed for businesses with fewer than twenty computer users. "For small businesses that need more than the basics," Roush points out, "NetOffice also offers CRM tools, email marketing automation, autoresponders, outbound voice messaging, and fax-on-demand. The kind of features that larger companies take for granted. And they're features that Microsoft isn't including in its Live service."

While Microsoft has always relied on IT professionals and channel partners to take care of its users systems, NetOffice has handled those chores from the start. "It's going to be interesting," Roush says, "to see how Redmond switches from selling software to maintaining vital systems and providing support." NetOffice, for its part, recognizes that its users are less sophisticated computer users and provides support for free.

About NetOffice

NetOffice eliminates technology barriers, simplifies workflow, and makes it easier for employees to get things done (and for small businesses to compete against big ones). The company's hosted services integrate the essential data- and phone-based technologies small businesses rely on and makes them available through a Single Point of Contact online.

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Peter Altschuler
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