Print 16 comment(s) - last by Uncle.. on Mar 4 at 12:01 PM

Microsoft Office is headed online with its new edition

One of Microsoft's most dominant products is its Office suite.  For over a decade Microsoft has enjoyed a virtual monopoly on office processing software.  Yet today, it finds itself facing surprising new competition from new competitors, some of whom are offering free software like Google’s free online Office Suite.  Google predicted that online clients were the future of office software, not Microsoft's traditional desktop installations. 

Apparently, Microsoft agrees; Chris Capossela, senior VP of the company's information worker group, the group in charge of developing Office 2007's successor, Office 14, reveals in a new interview that Microsoft Office is headed online in a big way.  While Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote will still be available in desktop client form, the key to the new Office suite will be Office Web Applications, lightweight web client version of each of these projects.

Users will be able to go online to edit and view their documents, as well as collaborating with others on common documents.  Microsoft claims that it will maintain an edge over Google by offering no loss of fidelity between its offline and online offerings. States Mr.
Capossela, "Unlike Google and Zoho, we won't crush stuff the Word user created in the first place."

Microsoft is offering up its APIs, called the REST APIs, to web developers, so that Microsoft Word and Excel may soon be incorporated into web pages.  Mr. Capossela comments, "We have a big focus on developers.  Part of that focus is around new APIs, part of that is around interoperability documentation, so people can make their solutions work with Office more easily than they did in the past."

Office 14's online face will be powered in part by
Silverlight, Microsoft's rich Web application plug-in, a competitor to Adobe's Flash.  A Silverlight browser plug-in will come with the new version of Office.  However, there is also a Silverlight-free online version of the Office Suite, for users who choose not to install Silverlight.

With Office 14, Microsoft also plans to bring Office to the clouds.  Microsoft's free cloud computing OS, Windows Azure will also be powering much of Office 14's power tools, such as
Exchange Online and SharePoint Online.  Azure already powers parts of Exchange Online, such as the identity services.  The changes to Office will help many services be done purely from the cloud, saving machines from local work or storage.

For the booming smart phone market, Microsoft plans a more full-featured
Office Mobile branded mobile version of Office 14.  Users will not only be able to view documents, but will be able to edit and collaborate on them, all from their phone.  The mobile version will also feature new SharePoint connectivity and other features.  Mr. Capossela continues, "Office Web Applications become far more important given that smart phones are taking up a far larger percentage of the overall mix of phones that are shipping in the world."

Inclusion of web content, such as images, links or blurbs from sites will also be made easier and more effective.  Mr. Capossela explains, "
Multiuser authoring is fun and interesting, but also just being able to go out and peruse the Internet and grab video files, pictures, and snippets and automatically have them sourced when you put them in your document, those are new styles of researching and collaborating that are really important."

Microsoft is keeping tight lipped on the new version's pricing.  Mr. Capossela adds, "We feel incredibly good about the price of Office.  We've never had more people buying Office at retail than we've had with Office 2007."

Office 14 is set to inherit the Office legacy sometime in 2010, following the release of Windows 7 in 2009, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's latest remarks.

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Just to be clear....
By danz32 on 3/3/2009 11:43:43 AM , Rating: 4
There is already an online service like this available from Microsoft:

I imagine Office 14 will just provide better integration and features for it

RE: Just to be clear....
By Captain Orgazmo on 3/3/2009 12:45:51 PM , Rating: 2
I have Office 2007 Ultimate (bought it for around $60 last year from MS's "Ultimate Steal" deal for students - they renewed the program this year btw, hell of a deal) installed on my Vista Basic laptop and Vista Home Premium desktop.

I installed the Office Live plugin on both computers, and it works perfectly on my laptop, but not my desktop (the extra office live options don't appear in the menu as they should). MS has a "solution" for the problem, but after trying to fix it several times, I can't get it to work. Anyone else have this problem?

RE: Just to be clear....
By mondo1234 on 3/3/2009 1:07:39 PM , Rating: 3
I noticed Jason didn't put the price for the suite, but if it is still $350-$400 for everyone else, I will pass on this too. I dont need a state-of-the-art word processor to write a letter, Open Office will do just fine for free. I have been using it for 2 years on Windows, Mac and Linux. Open Office 3, (while it does take longer to load) works good enough for me.

RE: Just to be clear....
By quiksilvr on 3/3/2009 2:24:58 PM , Rating: 2
Open Office 3 pissed me off so I got the Go Open Office version. Much faster, easier to understand icons:

Though I would still prefer Office 2007 over it, simply because I can get Office Enterprise 2007 for $30 at UT because I'm a student

RE: Just to be clear....
By Master Kenobi on 3/3/09, Rating: 0
RE: Just to be clear....
By mondo1234 on 3/3/2009 5:15:15 PM , Rating: 3
The basic suite is still only around $100 from Amazon for Word, Excel, Powerpoint on 3 computers. I see this as a fairly reasonable price..

OK, I dont know what that had to do with my reply about Office 2007 Ultimate.

For businesses that require REAL word processors, not the half baked poorly supported trash called Open Office, then theres the Enterprise, Professional, and Small Business lines of Office products.

Your right, this will be a huge upgrade year where businesses want the "Real" word processors for $350 per seat. I am sure that car salesmen and real estate reps are salivating at getting this. Local, State (esp California) and Federal Governments have already earmarked funds for Office upgrades.
Based on your news flash, MS will probably close at minimum $16 a share today.

RE: Just to be clear....
By Master Kenobi on 3/4/2009 7:14:23 AM , Rating: 2
I think you would be quite surprised at how much money is being thrown at IT upgrades in 2009. HP, Dell, Microsoft, IBM and others are lining up for a slice of the pie.

RE: Just to be clear....
By The0ne on 3/3/2009 1:19:08 PM , Rating: 1
And it's buggy as hell. Tried it again yesterday night with some Excel files, one basic and the other complex, and it was a nightmare. I don't understand why MS Live can't do without installing extra software locally on your hard drive. For example:

1. Silverlight to be able to upload multiple documents O.o!?
2. Updates Live integration to your Office suite, which is limited and buggy.

The whole process is iffy. Sometimes you get nothing happening, sometimes you get something happening but have to wait a LONG time for it to finish (like deleting a 50k file!), syncing a local file takes forever (again, very small file).

I actually tried several online apps last night and resorted back to googleapps for ease of use. I could handle the bugs with the other programs but I know people sharing my documents will NEVER get it to work on their machines.

You can also try I'm staying with the limited function Googleapps for now until I find something that will editing of the file at the same time. I haven't played with thinkfree long enough to find out but if it's there it's hidden well. The manager didn't work so well either.

RE: Just to be clear....
By fatedtodie on 3/3/2009 1:24:19 PM , Rating: 2
Might just be your setup. Maybe you have your computer screwy. Or maybe you are just a schill for Google, who knows, and in this online realm it doesn't matter.

RE: Just to be clear....
By The0ne on 3/3/2009 1:53:46 PM , Rating: 2
I don't like googleapps, it's too limited in functions. But it's the easiest for everyone else to share and edit files simultaneously. And no bugs. But editing large spreadsheets in googleapps is painstaking slow. Have you even use any of the online apps services?

just what we need
By tastyratz on 3/3/2009 12:04:38 PM , Rating: 2
the key to the new Office suite will be Office Web Applications, lightweight web client version

Call it foreshadowing, but online office applications embeddable into web pages.... and MACRO'S.

Anyone else scared at least a little?

RE: just what we need
By fatedtodie on 3/3/2009 1:22:17 PM , Rating: 4
Scared of what? that a hacker (or Microsoft) will get a peek at the email I am sending my dad of Obama's failures? or maybe that they will get that list of books I am recommending to my best friend?

Fear Mongers suck!

RE: just what we need
By therealnickdanger on 3/3/09, Rating: 0
Windows Live
By Dreifort on 3/3/2009 11:42:53 AM , Rating: 2
Looks as if Microsoft is putting more emphasis on their Windows Live platform, or cloud computing.

Several other companies are following this direction - or at least placing a small stake into it.

HP offers their own version of cloud computing ( )

If Microsoft is successful with their Live platform and are able to convience a majority of users to move in this direction, it will have huge impact on the netbook craze.

By moflaherty on 3/3/2009 11:56:47 AM , Rating: 2
HP has discontinued Upline.

By Uncle on 3/4/2009 12:01:31 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't delved to deep in this subject, so any work I do online will be kept on someone elses server.For easy access of course. Reminds me of running an email server. I put up a red flag with a query of lets say banks, accounts,stocks, as an example, and any of my queries can be sent to me. Kind of what Microsoft (Hotmail) or Google (G-Mail) can do with their email holdings, or any free email outfits. Just wondering.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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