Office 14 to include web apps
By Barry Collins in Los Angeles
Posted on 28 Oct 2008 at 19:15
Microsoft will launch online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote with Office 14, writes Barry Collins in Los Angeles.
The Office Web Applications will take the fight to rivals such as Google Docs and Zoho by offering full editing facilities through the browser, using a refined version of the Ribbon interface that's used in Office 2007.
"For quite some time, many of you have wondered how or whether we'll be bringing Office apps to the web," said Microsoft's chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, during his second keynote speech at the Professional Developers Conference today. "This is Office without walls."
Microsoft's demonstrations focused on the ability for two people to actively edit the same document simultaneously, regardless of whether they are using the full client software or the web application.
Edits made by one person are reflected on the other person's screen within a few seconds, allowing colleagues to add photos to OneNote dossiers while on location, for example.
In a sharp contrast to Google's somewhat limited services, Microsoft was keen to stress that its web apps retain desktop functionality, such as manipulating graphs and editing formulae in Excel. The big question mark is how much bandwidth such sophistication will demand.
Microsoft claims the Office Web Applications will work in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.
The web apps will be delivered through Office Live, on both ad-funded and a subscription basis, according to Microsoft. Businesses will get access through a hosted service and their volume licensing agreements.
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