Microsoft takes aim at Google with online Office suite

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Microsoft on Monday announced plans to begin widespread testing of a new version of its market-leading productivity suite for Windows PCs that will tie into a series of new Web-based Office applications similar to those offered by rival Google.



Presenting at its Worldwide Partner Conference 2009, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant said it will soon invite tens of thousands of customers to start testing Microsoft Office 2010, which features broadcast and video editing in PowerPoint, new data visualization capabilities in Excel, and co-authoring in Word.



As part of the announcement, Microsoft also said it plans to take Office online, with a new series of free Office Web applications aimed at combating the encroachment on its space by arch rival Google, whose online document and spreadsheet applications have been growing in popularity.



The ad-supported web suite will reportedly be available to more than 400 million Windows Live consumers at no cost. It will also be accessible on-premises for all Office volume licensing customers and via Microsoft Online Services, where customers will be able to purchase a subscription as part of a hosted offering.



"Office Web Applications, the online companion to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications, allow you to access documents from anywhere. You can even simultaneously share and work on documents with others online," Microsoft says on its Office 2010 Technical Preview site. "View documents across PCs, mobile phones, and the Web without compromising document fidelity. Create new documents and do basic editing using the familiar Office interface."



Microsoft, which also announced that it is streamlining the number of Office editions from eight to five, said customers will be able to purchase the new suite sometime in the first half of next year. The company made no announcements related to future versions of Office for the Mac, which will more than likely also tie into the new Web-based suite once it materializes.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 80
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    If Microsoft is making an online version of Office, Google might as well pack their bags and go home. They can forget their netbook with Google Office dreams.
  • Reply 2 of 80
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,909member
    Knowing Microsoft, it'll only work with Internet Explorer 8/9 on Windows 7.
  • Reply 3 of 80
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    If Microsoft is making an online version of Office, Google might as well pack their bags and go home. They can forget their netbook with Google Office dreams.



    You really need a sarcasm tag or emoticon, otherwise people will take your post seriously.
  • Reply 4 of 80
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    I'm curious; will it work with Safari and Firefox the same as Internet Explorer? I can't see them making use of ActiveX since they are moving away from that technology.
  • Reply 5 of 80
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    You really need a sarcasm tag or emoticon, otherwise people will take your post seriously.



    Maybe he's referring to the stranglehold MS has on the office suite and how they want to translate that same stranglehold to the online documents segment of the market.
  • Reply 6 of 80
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    I'm curious; will it work with Safari and Firefox the same as Internet Explorer?



    My guess is ?not a chance?. There is just no upside for MS by going standards compliant.
  • Reply 7 of 80
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    My guess is ?not a chance?. There is just no upside for MS by going standards compliant.



    How about you guys actually try it out? I'm using it on Safari right now. So far, everything works. It prompted me for a Silverilght update, so it may be using that.
  • Reply 8 of 80
    I am certain this won't work without Silverlight... A sneaky move to make people install the plugin, but coming from MS - hardly surprising at all. Don't earn the marketshare.. force it!
  • Reply 9 of 80
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The company made no announcements related to future versions of Office for the Mac, which will more than likely also tie into the new Web-based suite once it materializes.



    Office for the Mac isn't really the same thing, hasn't been forever now. We'll see if going online helps the cause, or if MS just never plans on feature parity.
  • Reply 10 of 80
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by infobhan View Post


    How about you guys actually try it out? I'm using it on Safari right now. So far, everything works. It prompted me for a Silverilght update, so it may be using that.



    I’m working around to trying it out. Note that I qualified my response with “my guess”. My reasoning is that MS isn’t moving very fast to make IE standards compliant and it will cost more and take longer to make any web-based office suite standards compliant when they can just tie into their current IE setup as is. Since they want to maintain their dominance in IE this is one way they can stall any exodus to other browsers. The Silverlight update may be telling. MS may be less interested in IE being required as it is in the Silverlight plugin. Personally, I am all for Silverlight as anything that forces Adobe to fight on more fronts to defend Flash is good for the future of the web.



    However, sometime later this year or perhaps next year IE will likely fall below 50% marketshare, which means that standards compliant browsers trying to pass Acid3 and incorporate HTML5, etc. will be at >50% marketshare. While I don’t think MS will give in on IE and make it play nicely with others so easily, eventually they will have to as this slow and steady trend will not be subsiding anytime soon.
  • Reply 11 of 80
    35873587 Posts: 4member
    Maybe M$ should work the bugs out of their current products first before starting a new adventure! Just a thought?
  • Reply 12 of 80
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    You really need a sarcasm tag or emoticon, otherwise people will take your post seriously.



    No one can compete with Microsoft in the office apps space. It's one thing to defeat IE as it is a crap product and not too hard to learn a new browser, but Office is a whole 'nother matter.
  • Reply 13 of 80
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Oh-es-Ten View Post


    I am certain this won't work without Silverlight... A sneaky move to make people install the plugin, but coming from MS - hardly surprising at all. Don't earn the marketshare.. force it!



    Is that much different from iTunes and Quicktime?
  • Reply 14 of 80
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


    Knowing Microsoft, it'll only work with Internet Explorer 8/9 on Windows 7.



    ...and their proprietary file formats.





    But even ignoring all that, Microsoft is at least a generation behind in web thinking. It's pretty clear at this point that Google's online office tools are getting rebuilt to live on top of WAVE.



    If Google -really- wanted to take a shot at Microsoft they'd offer a combined WAVE+Google Office (featuring their new Outlook compatibility) on a scalable array of server appliances that could be self-hosted, co-located at Google or both (an internet-accessible satellite for mobile users/failover/etc.)



    That would be Google striking with its strengths directly at Microsoft's exposed underbelly* with a product and strategy that Microsoft is increasingly legitimizing with moves like Online Office.



    (*namely: their dizzying array of profitable, but overlapping and poorly integrating server technologies that are increasingly driven by web front-ends. They don't particularly benefit from Microsoft's monopoly and can be replaced piece-meal, without a massive retraining/testing project)
  • Reply 15 of 80
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    No one can compete with Microsoft in the office apps space. It's one thing to defeat IE as it is a crap product and not too hard to learn a new browser, but Office is a whole 'nother matter.



    Sure they can. Google, Apple and OOo are already doing it. MS still dominates and will for the foreseeable future, but I know of companies and government agencies moving away from MS Office.
  • Reply 16 of 80
    mj webmj web Posts: 918member
    Does Microsoft have an original bone in its entire decrepit body?
  • Reply 17 of 80
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,744member
    Knowing MS they'll probably find a way to fk that up, too.



    I'm pretty skeptical whenever MS rolls out new product/service these days.
  • Reply 18 of 80
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,744member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ Web View Post


    Does Microsoft have an original bone in its entire decrepit body?



    Sure, they do. It's the Big Ass Table(TM)



    I don't think anyone else has a Big Ass Table(TM) like that.
  • Reply 19 of 80
    thegarthegar Posts: 92member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    I'm curious; will it work with Safari and Firefox the same as Internet Explorer? I can't see them making use of ActiveX since they are moving away from that technology.



    It will work on other browsers, but a year later and half-ass.

    Look at Office:Mac, look at Silverlight (no authoring (yet?) on other platforms).



    There's nothing wrong with producing apps that only work on one platform, but they always try to force it as a 'web standard' or just a 'standard' altogether, even though it in fact only works decently on one platform.
  • Reply 20 of 80
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    From what I'm reading it appears MS is embracing standards within Silverlight in a way they are not in IE. Interesting that they support open standards in a proprietary runtime.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    My guess is ?not a chance?. There is just no upside for MS by going standards compliant.



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