I had a company on MS Office Live Small Business. We set their email, contacts, and calendaring system up a few years ago on a hosted MS Exchange Server through 4Smartphone.com. It worked great. When MS came out with what they call Hotmail Exchange ActiveSync late last year, partially to save some money, we moved them to that system with similar capability. Because MS Office Live Small Business is built on Hotmail, you can run Hotmail Exchange ActiveSync into MS Outlook. You set it up though the Hotmail Outlook Connector. Hotmail Exchange ActiveSync lacks task syncing but otherwise works great.
When MS Office 365 comes out later this year, all MS Office Live Small Business users will be moved to that system. It’ll cost a bit more but include a lot more functionality. We’ll look at changing this company to over to Office 365 hosted Exchange Server at that point.
I set up a website and email system for a fledgling business last week in about 3 hours. I sent some options with pros/cons and then Skyped the founder. He showed his desktop and clicked through some links. We chose to buy the web domain and hosting from WordPress.com. WordPress.com makes it easy to set up email through Goggle Apps. I helped the founder click through the sign up process, and we chose a site template. He went away to write up the content while I set up the site and email. The next day, I posted the content and Skyped the founder. He showed his desktop, critiqued the site, learned how to post, and signed into his pre-existing Gmail account. We then went through how he is now receiving his company name email into his Gmail , can send from the new company domain address, and tweaked the site. The domain, hosting, and email comes to under $15 a year in one payment. It was refreshing to get something going without complications.