Since work and play with Office Live Basics, also took trial for Essentials and Premium, lots of people ask if it worth to upgrade? I just put my few cents here.
When you want to use Office Live, I highly suggest you try Office Live Basics first, not Essentials or Premium, why?
Office Live hosting is very different with “traditional” hosting service. It is “bonded” service; you can’t leave Office Live after you use it for a period time. Most functions are tied with its “Web Parts”. If you start to use Essentials or Premium, you may feel it is enough functions for your needs. But all the needs are for now. When you need more functions, you may find it is impossible to do at someday. Also you may not think if it worth for those needs to pay for.
If you start from Basics version and follow the concept of Office Live, I am sure you will find limitation of Basics. So don’t worry the limitation, just mark it down the cases you can’t do in Basics. After a few weeks/months, you will find out, what functions you do really need and if the model of Office Live suitable for you. How much would you like to pay for those functions if there is other place can do same thing. If you like the model of Office Live, then go ahead to take trial for Essentials or Premium to see if the functions can be solved at there. If you believe Essentials or Premium has functions you needs and the price is good for you, then go ahead to use. Otherwise stay at Basics or move to other places.
So who is suitable for Essentials and Premium? I think those small companies have less 30 people, doesn’t have own IT department/people, want to share information online, have small group clients allowing to access shared information and most of current software applications are Microsoft’s products. The important factor is willing to tie on Microsoft’s services and products.
Then who is suitable for Basics? I would say every person, even my son, who are not too picky, and most of small companies without own dedicate IT people. Because it is all free, hosted on a large computer center with dedicated people taking care of it, then why not!