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Summary:

Office Web Apps — Microsoft’s free online version of its Office suite — is now available to users in the U.S., the UK, Canada, and Ireland via Windows Skydrive. To try it out, just head to office.live.com (you’ll need a Windows Live account).

Office Web Apps — Microsoft’s free online version of its Office suite — is now available to users in the U.S., the UK, Canada, and Ireland via Windows Skydrive. To try it out, just head to office.live.com (you’ll need a free Windows Live account).

Office Web Apps is pretty impressive, incorporating browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that look and feel very much like the desktop apps. They work in all modern browsers, and you don’t need to install Silverlight to use them, although some features work better with it installed. While the web apps don’t offer as much power and functionality as their desktop cousins, they’re at least on par with Google Docs, and if you have Office 2010 (which is being released to non-business customers next week) you’ll get seamless round-trip editing between the desktop and the cloud. (If you’re interested in learning more about cloud computing and how it enables web apps like this, check out our Structure conference in San Francisco later this month).

Let us know what you think of the Office Web Apps below.

(via Windows Team Blog)

By Simon Mackie
  1. I have been following this with interest and although I am a Google Apps fan – with the odd dabble with Zoho – I think Microsoft have done an excellent job with this. Let’s forget the technie types who will stick with Google and Zoho and concentrate on the millions of small to medium sized enterprises who have been dallying with the idea of taking their office webside, this is tailor made for that transition.

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    1. I think you’re right Kevin, especially as Office Web Apps provide a very familiar environment for workers used to the desktop apps.

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  2. Hmmm… Other than wasting a lot of pixels on those menus, and lacking some many interesting features than say TinyMCE or fckeditor, what’s the compelling reason to fire up this? Creating a docx document? Excel online doesn’t have graphs! Powerpoint seems cumbersome and too elementary and will not let me insert much.

    Granted, Microsoft’s Clipart and their smartart are somewhat nice additions, but no context menus on right click?, no resize handles? They should have labeled it beta.

    They should have bought Thinkfree and build upon their apps (which are MILES ahead than this) because, as of right now, Google Docs has more on the meat to bone ratio.

    How nice that they chose to stick to their menus, but that’s not a showstopper, nor a feature.

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  3. As far as Business Collaboration Tools are concerned, i am very much excited to use this Microsoft’s Office Web Apps…hoping if lower versions of desktop Office could merge with the office Web Apps ….

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  4. I am excited that Microsoft has launched its Office Web Apps. I agree with a number of other comment-ors that MS has a hugh users base and allowing them to easily access and use web-based apps will make it easier for users collaborations and file sharing for them.

    It is clear that people who already love GMail and Google Docs will not see or want the Office Live Web Apps but for millions of people that use MS Office everyday and and have been emailing attached MS Office files or putting them in shared cloud storage the Office Live product coupled with MS live SkyDrive’s free 25 GB of storage makes a pretty attractive product for a lot people for all areas of work and play.

    Microsoft has set a new standard for the entry level that companies providing for either or both office suites and online storage. We as consumer are the real winners no matter what level functionality MS Office Live has today.

    The questions for me is as a business can I really use this kind of products to share, collaborate and still manage my company’s IP assets?

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  5. I prefer OpenOffice, Google Docs and Zoho. Its free, versatile and cross platform.

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  6. I’ll have to check it out but I wonder if they missed the bus on this. With google docs and other free sources that have marinated themselves into the market this might be a tough sell.

    I just checked it out and the first thing I see is DOWNLOAD get started guide. That’s pretty bad when your trying to market a Web app you don’t have to download and the first thing you see is Download.

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