Microsoft today announced that it plans to release web version of office applications at professional developers conference (PDC2008). These are lightweight versions of Microsoft Office suite that can run in a browser. Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari browsers are supported.
The online office version includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that run through a browser. Users can read, edit and collaborate on office documents using online office. Some time ago they released a tool called Office Live Workspace which is not a full office version, which is meant for collaborating and sharing documents.
Microsoft is not using its own silverlight technology for its web office, instead it is in HTML and AJAX like Google Docs. Google Docs and Zoho both are competitors for this office, Zoho has an impressive list of online office applications.
Pricing is not clear but it will be released as a advertising based service as well as subscription offering to customers. Business customers will get a hosted subscription service and through volume license agreements.
Why is Microsoft doing this?
Capossela: We are deeply committed to offering our customers the technology they need to succeed. To that end, weâ€™re investing in software plus services for the long term, something that sets us apart from our competitors. Office Web applications complement the Office suite and Office Mobile applications and enable our customers to share and collaborate more effectively through the familiar Office experience.
We know our customers use their PC, phone, and browser in different situations depending on their needs. The browser is particularly important when you need to access and edit files while traveling, working remotely, or using someone elseâ€™s PC. Together, these new tools enable new styles of community-based collaboration where multiple people can contribute simultaneously to various work through the internet.
Now Microsoft officially entering the Online Office space we can expect some new features in Google Docs or Google Docs will one day end up in dead pool.