Walt Mossberg, of the Wall Street Journal, wrote unenthusiastically recently about the new Microsoft Office Live service, which is aimed at very entry level small businesses trying to create a basic web presence (full disclosure: he compared Homestead favorably to the new service, which is competitive to Homestead). While their web site solution seems too rudimentary for even the most basic full time business, their integration of simple CRM solutions is really cool. I’d be curious to hear from the Homestead customers (or potential customers) out there if you’d be interested in basic CRM and database functionality built into your Homestead service.
Unfortunately, the name Office Live leads one to believe that it includes web-based versions of Microsoft’s flagship Office Suite (i.e. Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), which it doesn’t. At least not yet. Now that would be a killer app for small businesses, and Homestead would become an ASP/reseller of that in an Internet minute if it every happened. Of course, they would probably screw up the pricing somehow, and/or make the licensing agreement ridiculously draconian, or pull some other myopic Microsoft move. But if you’re reading this Bill, take it from a former employee: I think there’s a really big opportunity here.