Microsoft Takes Office Cloud-ward

Announces Office Web

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Microsoft is taking its Office program and going online. The next release of Microsoft Office will include Office Web applications, “lightweight” versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

The company’s announcement follows yesterday’s unveiling of its cloud-based Web apps operating platform, Windows Azure, and both are “part of a strategic companywide shift toward embracing web-based solutions.”

Office Web will allow access to the lighter versions of the classic Office programs via a Web browser. Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari compatible, no word has been released yet about Google Chrome. Given that Office Web is HTML and AJAX based, one imagines Chrome shouldn’t haven’t issues.

Microsoft Takes Office Cloud-ward

“With this development,” said Microsoft senior veep Chris Capossela, “people can benefit from Office as a service on their browser, as a downloadable application on their phone, and as software on their PCs.”

Historically, Microsoft has been slow to embrace Web-based applications. After all, its bread has been buttered with widespread desktop machine adoption. Capossela says times have changed.

“Customers’ requirements have changed, as have their expectations of technology. While Office is synonymous with desktop productivity, the idea of “desktop” has changed from a PC-centric notion to one in which people are empowered on the PC, on the phone, and with a browser. Our customers don’t use one device, but rather several.”

Office Web will be accessible via Office Live, with both ad-supported and subscription options. Business users will get access via hosted subscriptions and existing volume licensing agreements.”


Microsoft Takes Office Cloud-ward
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