Microsoft punts web-based apps to the masses
Browser-based Word and Excel? Er, not exactly
In a bid to spin its web-based version of Office into contention with rival internet behemoth Google, Microsoft has said it will begin accepting applications for beta testing its web apps later this year.
The software giant's suite of applications, which include the ubiquitous Excel and Word, has been a hugely profitable income generator for the firm.
But, with users increasingly turning to free online applications from the likes of Google and OpenOffice for their word processing and spreadsheet needs, it's no wonder Microsoft has decided to cautiously ramp up its web-based version of Office.
There is one significant difference, however: unlike Google apps, Microsoft said users of its new service can only create or edit online documents if they have Office software already installed on their machines.
Microsoft said features of its Office Live Workspace would include allowing users to upload more than 1,000 documents to free personal websites.
There will also be an option for documents to be shared in a password-protected environment.
For anyone who doesn't have Office installed, features will be restricted via a read-only browser, although users will still have the ability to comment on the document.
The vendor sought to give the beta program a healthy lick of corporate spin, saying "'Online' services are for organisations with more advanced IT needs where power and flexibility are critical." Other apps under the program include Exchange and Sharepoint.
The software mammoth claimed its online strategy would help businesses enforce data access, control and compliance policies, "while providing performance, scalability, enhanced security, management features and service-level capabilities to support mission-critical applications and systems.”
Microsoft business division president Jeff Raikes said: "We are taking a significant step forward by combining our deep client and server software experience with our strong commitment to delivering flexible services offerings for our wide variety of customers and their unique needs."
Anyone wanting to beta-test the web-based features of Office can apply to do so from today, said Microsoft.
The full Microsoft press release is here. ®
people still use office?
Always amuses me to see that people still think formatting text on a computer is somehow automating their office.
Microsoft Office is available for Macs as well as PCs. So from what Andy Taylor says, I assume they're planning to support that. Not that Mac owners would do anything as square as a spreadsheet or write a letter when they could make a 15-minute video and upload it as a vodcast.
Get VMS. You know it makes sense.
MS 'Online' Office
This sounds horribly like all they are doing is setting up a hosted version of Sharepoint, accessible over the internet. That would be why you need local copies of the Office apps.
For the uninitiated, Sharepoint is an INTRAnet based document sharing back end for MS Office 2007 ... and its an absolute pile of sh*te. It is ugly and clunky, and simply doesn't work in my experience.
I hate to defend M$ but...
The web site says that you can use IE 6.0/7.0 or Firefox 2.0 on XP/Server 2003/Vista
or Firefox 2.0 on Mac OS X 10.2.x or higher.
Nowhere does it mention the need to own a copy of Office though....