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Microsoft is giving away tools to entice SMBs to adopt its Office Live Small Business suite of Web-based software and services. However, the move could see the software giant provide tools and services for free that its VARs have previously charged for.

Microsoft announced that it has combined its previous three-tier OLSB suite into one product and is offering Web hosting, Web site building tools, custom domain names and business-branded e-mail accounts for free.

Baris Cetinok, director of Product Management and Marketing for Microsoft, said that the target audience is comprised of those businesses that lack IT staff, a dedicated IT budget or a contractor who’s overseeing the business’ computing, as well as those businesses stuck in repurposing consumer technologies or that are trying to work with minimal IT staff to manage software and devices.

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