Microsoft has launched the beta test version of its Office Live suite of internet-based services. This includes free website, domain name and email for small-business customers, and is aimed at helping smaller firms to get up and running on the internet quickly, with the minimum of fuss and expense.

"The internet is crucial to running a successful business today, and companies that don't have at least an online presence risk missing out," said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division.