Microsoft Takes Office Suite to the Cloud
Article by George Norman
On 29 Oct 2008
Ever since Google released Google Docs back in 2006, there have been rumors about Microsoft taking its Office suite to the web – sadly though, all those rumors did not amount to anything. As of this week Microsoft has officially announced that applications such as Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint will enter the cloud as the company continues work on Windows Azure. Microsoft claims that the Office suite applications will run smoothly with several browsers (Firefox, Safari, and of course, Internet Explorer).

If you thought that all of this is too good to be true, then you were right. Microsoft said it plans to do so, but the catch is that it did not mention when. So it seems that for now Google Docs has nothing to be worried about. Even though Janice Kapner, Microsoft Senior Director of Information Worker Group Communications says that Google Docs takes up a rather small market share, the simple truth of the matter is that Google's market share is increasing (even if at a slow rate). OpenOffice is also a contender that Microsoft must not take lightly – in the first week alone, OpenOffice 3.0 was downloaded over 3 million times.

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There are several advantages to taking the Office suite online. First of all, sharing and collaborating on all sorts of projects will become less of a hassle. Secondly, the number of users will increase considerably – mainly due to the fact that the app is free, and can be accessed by any collaborator with a PC and an Internet connection.

There is a second catch: the online version of the Office suite will not exactly be an identical match of MS Office, but rather a stripped out version of it. For a new user, this may turn out to be a benefit; but for a MS Office veteran, it may be annoying to find out that certain features are no longer available.



Tags: Microsoft, Windows, Windows Azure, Cloud, MS Office
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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