"The numbers add up and the demand is there," said Joe McDermott, managing director for Solution Canvas Ltd. in Glasgow, Scotland. He said it's been traditionally difficult for small businesses to find IT products tailored to them, and Office Live meets many of their needs.
More importantly, he added, broadband is now ubiquitous and more people accept and use online services such as banking, every day. Small businesses are more comfortable going straight to the Web for an IT infrastructure rather than buying and installing products on site themselves.
To improve Office Live, Microsoft in the next two months will enhance the service with more options for subscribers to buy ad words on search engines other than Microsoft's Windows Live Search. Currently, subscribers can use the service's AdManager user interface to buy ad words through AdCenter, Microsoft's paid search platform. Microsoft will extend that ability to other search engines, though it is not ready to disclose which ones yet, Koopmans said.
In the same time frame, the company will add the ability to build e-commerce sites in Office Live's tool for building Web sites, she added.