Outlook 2007 Goes it Alone

Up until now, if you wanted Microsoft’s Outlook e-mail client (not the scaled down Express version), you had to buy the company’s Office suite.

However, the most recent release – Outlook 2007 with the Business Contact Manager contact management application, which comes as a component of Office 2007 – has been so popular with small businesses that Microsoft is now offering it as a standalone package.

Demand for a standalone release grew out of small business needs for consolidating contact information from more than one application in a single place. The standalone version enables customers to track sales and marketing activities such as organizing contacts, and customer information, according to a Microsoft statement.

“Currently, many small and home-based businesses keep their contacts in several different places … We understand the importance of good customer management and are providing simple and affordable solutions to help small businesses centralize their customer information so that keeping track of customers is more effective and less time-consuming,” Takeshi Numoto, general manager of Office 2007, said in the statement.

Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager also provides synergies when combined with Microsoft Office Accounting 2008, which shipped in November. The combination of programs enables users to view customer financial history as well as billing for time and generating invoices directly from Outlook. The two products share the same database — so any changes made to customer information in one application are automatically reflected in the other, according to Microsoft.

The standalone version of Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager lists for $149.95. Microsoft Office Small Business 2007 costs $449.95. Meantime, the Express edition of Office Accounting 2007 is free, while Office Accounting Professional 2007 lists for $199.95.

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