Microsoft offers standalone Outlook

Microsoft offers standalone Outlook

$149 bundle aimed at small businesses

Microsoft has launched a new version of Outlook targeted towards small businesses which will be sold separately from Office.

The email application will be combined with a contact management tool and branded 'Office Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager'.

"Small-business owners need effective solutions for managing their customer base," said Office 2007 general manager Takeshi Numoto.

"Many small and home-based businesses keep their contacts in several different places, some in Rolodexes some in spreadsheets."

Microsoft hopes that the $149 bundle will appeal to businesses looking to centralise contact information with email, but are not willing to spend $449 on the complete Office Small Business 2007 suite.

The company also announced new editions of its Office Accounting financial tool. The small-business application will now be available in a cheaper 'standard' edition which, at $99, costs half as much as the Professional edition.

New versions of Office Accounting Professional will include additional accounting software along with optional plug-ins to work with eBay.

Microsoft also announced three new versions of the free Office Accounting Express. The tool will be available in English and Spanish, along with a special version localised for the UK.