Small Canadian firms stand to benefit from the rollout of productivity and collaboration applications directly hosted by Microsoft but the new service offering is inadequate for larger enterprises, according to an IT industry analyst.

Beginning Monday, the Redmond, Wash-based software maker is extending the availability of its hosted productivity and collaboration applications to Canada as well as 17 other countries in Europe and Asia.

The other 17 countries where Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite was released include: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Microsoft timed the announcement to coincide with Europe’s largest IT conference, Cebit, which kicks off Tuesday.

The subscription price for the suite, which is already available in the U.S., is US$15 per user, per month, and prices overseas will be comparable to this, Microsoft said. For instance, in the U.K. the suite will cost