Office 2010 Includes Office Web, But Not Available Until Next Year

Microsoft said today that the Technical Preview of Office 2010 will start to be be rolled out to beta testers, and confirmed speculation from last week that Office 2010 will include Office Web, lightweight web app versions of Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint. Office Web will be available for free to anyone with a Microsoft Live account.webapp-ExcelWeb_Editor_WSS

This is especially good news for web workers who have been longing for an access-anywhere version of the Office suite, many of whom have been struggling with hybrid Office/Google Docs solutions.

However, the bad news is that Office 2010 and Office Web won’t be available until the first half of next year, so unless you have access to the Technical Preview you’re going to have to wait a long time to try it out. Microsoft has hinted that a wider beta test of Office Web could be made available later this year, but that still seems like a painfully long wait in today’s “release early, iterate often” world of web apps. In the meantime, I think it’s quite likely that we’ll see some considerable improvements to Google Apps.

What do you think of this announcement? Can you wait until early next year for Office Web?

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