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In an attempt to keep up with the Googles, Microsoft free web-based office software

Microsoft’s Office suite is the undisputed ruler of desktop software, but with Google moving in on Web-based office applications, Microsoft was sure to follow. Microsoft may offer basic versions of its word processing and spreadsheet software which will be supported by advertising.


Microsoft is pondering making its Works software available online, but is also careful not to cannibalize its sales of Office as it is one of the software giant’s leading sources of revenue. Microsoft may opt to offer its online software with a subscription-based model.


Alan Yates of Microsoft said to Reuters that the company will consider many options to woo entry-level users. "We're also thinking about how we might take advantage of new business models like advertising and other payment models, as well as new forms of distribution," said Yates.


Obviously, Microsoft’s strength is its experience and maturity of its office software. Google’s Writely is quite bare when compared with Word's feature set, but where Google easily surpasses Microsoft is in collaboration features. Users of Writely are able to make revisions and share documents amongst each other, whereas Word users still have to send files back and forth. Microsoft plans to address this limitation in its Office Live software, but then again, it won’t be free.

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Some things I'd rather pay for...
By Bonrock on 9/22/2006 3:44:29 PM , Rating: 2
Generally speaking, I'm a big fan of free stuff, but there are some things I would rather pay to own. My office productivity suite is one example. Why would I rather pay for Microsoft Office than use a free web-based alternative from Google? Because sooner or later, Google is going to need to figure out how to make some money from all the stuff it's giving away for free, and I don't want to be bothered by advertisements when I'm busy writing a document or crafting a presentation.

And before anyone says anything, yes, I know OpenOffice is free and doesn't have ads. I'm sorry, but it's just not as good as Microsoft Office, especially compared to the beta of Microsoft Office 2007.

RE: Some things I'd rather pay for...
By peternelson on 9/22/2006 5:23:57 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, obviously Openoffice does lack the important PDF export feature present in Office 2007.


RE: Some things I'd rather pay for...
By MDE on 9/22/2006 5:30:26 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, because has Adobe breathing down their backs any chance they get.


RE: Some things I'd rather pay for...
By INeedCache on 9/22/2006 5:41:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, Open Office is free and MS Office is rather pricey. However, aside from that, you cannot honestly say Open Office is as good as MS Office. If you can say this honestly, you're just ill-informed. MS Office does kick Open Office around, and not just with PDF format. Is MS Office worth the cost versus free? That's is a legitimate question for users, and I'm sure the answer varies. But just don't come around here saying Open Office is equal or better, simply on merit. It isn't. No sarcasm, just fact.

RE: Some things I'd rather pay for...
By dgingeri on 9/22/2006 6:39:10 PM , Rating: 2
As far as Office's price goes: those that work for corporations usually have the ability to get MS software, particularly Office, for a significant discount, depending on what SLA they have with MS. I got my fully legal copy of Office 2003 Pro for $20, shipping included. My company is working on becoming a MS Gold partner right now, which would allow more people to get Office at that price. There is a "Home Use" program by MS that would allow employees to buy 1 license per user at a discounted price so people can do work at home. The best part is that you can keep the license, and it's eligible for upgrades later, after you leave the company.

As far as OpenOffice goes: I have tried it out and found it severely lacking. I have yet to get a document to open in OpenOffice and not get corrupted. I spent 2 hours trying to clean up my resume after OpenOffice screwed it up. I also prefer to use Outlook as my e-mail client simply because I can save my e-mails into an external file, a .pst file, that I designate where it is, and I can back it up. I have yet to find another piece of software that can allow me to do that. I have 335MB of e-mail that I have saved for various reasons, most being either activation codes for software I bought online or receipts for hardware I ordered online. I would prefer not to lose those. I like MS Office. It's the most functional, well written program I have seen. Before people complain about MS and bugs, show me another piece of software this well written with as few bugs and patches so quickly written. MS works hard for their marketshare.

By MatthiasvW on 9/22/2006 7:55:40 PM , Rating: 2
Now the funny thing about this is that I usually have to use OpenOffice at work to fix documents that have gone corrupt in regular usage with MS Office. Word can't open it? Open it in Writer and save it back to .doc and voila! All set.

By pushrax on 9/23/2006 7:39:43 PM , Rating: 4

As far as OpenOffice goes: I have tried it out and found it severely lacking. I have yet to get a document to open in OpenOffice and not get corrupted. I spent 2 hours trying to clean up my resume after OpenOffice screwed it up.

You do realize that Microsoft is to blame here, don't you ? Microsoft is known for having actively prevented some open source projects from trying to read MS Office files. In Kenya and Brazil it has even successfully enforced laws prohibiting people from studying the code and file formats. OpenOffice is doing the best it can to reverse engineer Microsoft's proprietary file formats.

Furthermore, your argument that OpenOffice is inferior to MS Office because it can't reliably open its files is invalid. You could say the same of MS Office, that is totally unable to read OpenOffice files.

In other words, you keep using MS Office not because it is superior, but because Microsoft has successfuly locked you in its proprietary file formats, making you unable to switch to any other office suite.

By mindless1 on 9/23/2006 3:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but your "fact" is myth.
Subjective <> Objective

"Better" is a subjective term. Those who ran effective offices with MS Office prior to today didn't always upgrade to the latest version and wisely so, because they didn't need the features that made the Geeks' List nor the added bloat and expense. Same thing different day.

Features that may be essential to you may not be to everyone else.

By Locutus465 on 9/22/2006 6:23:01 PM , Rating: 2
And open office apps are just as fast, well integrated and feature rich as MS office


By kmmatney on 9/22/2006 6:15:39 PM , Rating: 2
OpenOffice is definately not as good as MS Office, but for my home computer there is no way I'm going to buy MS Office. it's waaay to expensive. I really haven't had any trouble using OpenOffice and it does meet my basic home needs.

I'd rather use OpenOffice than Microsoft Works. At least the last time I tried Works, it really was awful.

By NullSubroutine on 9/24/2006 3:33:59 AM , Rating: 1
you dont own any software you have purchased, you bought a liscence. btw i cant spell

By Napkin Sketch on 9/22/06, Rating: 0
RE: Serious?
By cgrecu77 on 9/22/2006 6:39:49 PM , Rating: 4
name onething that google can claim as its innovation? All Google's products are improvements of existing ideas. For example, the core of Google's Office Application was acquired and not "discovered" ... So was Google Earth, online map services existed before Google was founded, and the same goes for search engines.

Looking at Google's Tools listing this is what I found:
Blogger, Picasa, Desktop, Toolbar, Google Earth, Translate. Nothing here was done by Google for the first time ... I'm not going to argue if their applications are better quality or not, obviously they have some very nice applications, but then again, it's a lot easier to take something that exists and make it better then to create something outstanding on the first try.

RE: Serious?
By stmok on 9/22/2006 11:25:26 PM , Rating: 2
Because its easier to take an idea than come up with your own. Its cheaper to let someone else pave the way, so you can learn from their mistakes, etc.

Business is about making money...Correction, making any effort to maximise profit. If its cheaper to copy, then it will be done. If its cheaper to outsource to another country, it will be done. And so on.

What I don't quite understand, is why Microsoft has to dip their toes into everything that's related to technology? Consoles, software, search engines, personal media player, etc, etc.

Why not focus on a few products and make them really good?

RE: Serious?
By Randalllind on 9/23/2006 9:16:14 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft didn't make Office each part they got from another company. I don't believe Microsoft made anything they just got it all from other compines then improved on them.

I hate web based softwarw
By mforce on 9/22/2006 7:57:29 PM , Rating: 2
I really , really don't like web based stuff . It's just too damn slow . There's nothing like a C/C++ app that runs natively on your hardware . Sure there integrated stuff that lets you use the internet for colaboration or whatever is nice but they should keep it at that.
Why should we use web based office ? What wrong with Office that runs on you PC ?
As far as MS vs Open Office goes Open Office is enough for me and even my mother at work but it's not that good I agree.
While MS Office is a bit better it's too expensive and full and full of useless stuff ( at least for me ) .

RE: I hate web based softwarw
By stmok on 9/22/2006 11:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I'm pretty much the same. I don't like web-based apps either. I prefer a local copy. (whether desktop or notebook).

I use OpenOffice because of consistency among the OSs I use. (BSD, Linux and Windows). Stuff I type in Linux, can be checked and edited in Windows, etc without issues. (You can't do that with MS Office, because MS isn't gonna support Linux in this lifetime).

I don't do much with word processing or with spreadsheets, so OpenOffice will suffice. (Just results in table form, formulas and an occasional picture). I don't use Macros, other forms of scripts, or anything fancy (collaboration features). So I can't think of any justification for buying MS Office.

So it depends on your uses. Some people may not need MS Office's features, while others do. If you don't need all the features of a solution, why pay for it? Save your money. :)

RE: I hate web based softwarw
By msva124 on 9/25/2006 3:32:14 PM , Rating: 2
Couldn't agree more. I think they do as well, the only reason they are doing this is because they've run out of ideas, not many people are upgrading to the newest version of Office because their old one works fine, and Google is doing it.

By Maximilian on 9/22/2006 4:16:48 PM , Rating: 1
They couldnt PAY ME to use that. Its office with weird file formats that nothing else seems to be able to open. Nothing could open my works files back in school, so i ended up getting office, hell office is great, theres still people out there using office 97 it was so good. Works dosent work :( unfortunately.

RE: Works??
By phatboye on 9/22/2006 6:35:12 PM , Rating: 2
What are you talking about MS works is able to save files as a ms word document.

RE: Works??
By johnsonx on 9/22/2006 9:24:19 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but the irritating catch with Works is that Office can't open Works files in their native format. So when someone tries to switch from Works to Office, they have to go into all their files in Works and re-save them in the appropriate Office file format. Not very fun.

It seems Microsoft could easily add Works file format support to Office, but they choose not to for some reason. Maybe they've added it in a more recent version, I think the last time I messed with a Works-to-Office situation was with Office XP.

not unexpected
By msva124 on 9/22/2006 3:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, they like to follow hype. If they were in movies, they would have made five Snakes on a Plane lookalikes by now. And we all know how that did.

RE: not unexpected
By stmok on 9/22/2006 10:52:21 PM , Rating: 2
I was expecting something like Rambo 10, Rocky 9, Terminator 6, Jaws 15, and so on. :D

cheap for me
By jbkane26 on 9/23/2006 6:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
well, i can get microsoft office for $15. So microsoft office owns all

RE: cheap for me
By lemonadesoda on 9/24/2006 9:25:06 PM , Rating: 2
...probably about as legal/legitimate as the "FREE" copy I could download from any P2P network.

On line huh ???
By greylica on 9/22/2006 10:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
Some people will use this as a software for travel work, I really use Open Office and for me and My friends in Brazil is the best software we ever had, we simple study open office and make it go as better as we can, and we discovered that open office do not loose anything from office, there is not a lack of functions,it is the users that not make any action to switch sometimes, and the guilty guy is ever the tecnician.
Most of the people are still thinking only in what they ever did and not what can be done with innovations.
Really for a simple doc, doesn´t make any difference, wordpad can do this too, why not ?
But the Microsoft hit parade of office is heard in every place we go for years !!!
Now it´s time to make innovations, open office did it, it free ourselves.

Doesn´t matter. when you are on a wireless network and using this on your laptop, aaaand ... after 3 hours of hard work a cell with a Very Very good signal pass through your signal, hauahuahaua, you will remember every office you possibly passed by to storage on your hard drive and will say:
Dammm !!!! I´m a stupid !!!
The next time I will be a smart person and install it on my hard drive...
Office on the net ??? blergh...

MS doesn't want to hurt Office
By Randalllind on 9/22/2006 11:37:45 PM , Rating: 2
I read where they might not put works online because they don't want to hurt office sales. MS already hurt Office sales by doing away with the Student edition.

The reason MS killed it was cause it was cheaper then the Pro version and people opted to buy it instead.

MS hates any user that want to buy cheap MS software over the out rages price versions.

MS Works is a pretty good product but they bitch when people buy it cause it takes away from Office sales. Then why not kill it? MS is just so freaking stupid.

Why make a product then bitch cause people buy it?

Nothing comes FREE.....
By crystal clear on 9/23/2006 2:52:15 AM , Rating: 2
"The free programs are likely to be based on Microsoft's Works software suite that is often installed on low-cost home PCs.

No date has been set for when the free programs will show up on the net but the software giant told the Reuters news agency that it was "considering" new distribution and payment models for its software. "

BBC website.

Yes, all know about Google & others offering the free versions for quite sometime.Its not that simple as-
*If others offer it for free,then MS has to match them with a similar offer.If that was the case it would done so long ago.
*Suddenly MS has become very generous.(Christmas charity)
*I can do ,what you can do,even better(No competition in FREE OFFERS).

Quote -it was "considering" new distribution and payment models for its software"
The above quote is a hint of whats to come in the future.
I dont get impressed by FREEs,rather whats the motives behind those FREEs.The above quote is food for thought-
just dismissing it casually is a sign of arrogance.
Well wait & see.....

If you do not know?
By crystal clear on 9/23/2006 2:57:18 AM , Rating: 2
There is also a beta version of a WYSIWYG writing tool for writing blog posts.

MS works - good for legal upgrades
By kmmatney on 9/24/2006 12:44:26 AM , Rating: 2
A friend of mine saved a company hundreds of dollars by buying about 10 copies of MS works, and then buying the "upgrade" version of office instead of the full version. At the time (and maybe now still) MS Works was a qualifying package for the upgrade, and it saved something like $200 per copy of Office. This was severak years ago - I wonder if you can still do this?

By Randalllind on 9/24/2006 3:36:05 PM , Rating: 2
I just installed 7.0 kindof crappy but back when they had 3.0/4.0 it was pretty good. The interface sucks now.

The database program is really easy to learn compare to access I have to say.

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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