back to article Microsoft unveils 'lightweight' Office for Web

Microsoft has finally announced a version of its Office productivity applications for the web with the next full edition of its suite. The company said it's planning web applications for Office, a "lightweight" package of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications that'll "be compatible with familiar web browsers", …


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  1. Eric Dennis
    Gates Horns

    Not me

    I wont be paying a subscription fee of any kind for any version of MS Office. I'm still using Office 2003 and that works fine for me. Have no plans to upgrade any time soon. I will use the free Open Office before I will waste another dollar on MS Office.

  2. Bill Gould
    Gates Halo

    Call before you dig.

    I love all these "cloud" ideas. Then when your internet goes down you have no access to anything. Great plan. Easy to take days off for the telecommuters. Just say your internet was down so you couldn't do anything for 3 days... in the summer... so you went to the beach.

  3. Sleeping Dragon

    Not a chance

    I can imagine a whole bunch of MS Office users playing with this for a while and quickly realising that it doesn't have those oh-so-useful features that they love. It's why most MS products are bloated now; the customer expects features, lots of them. If you pay for something, then that something better have all the bells 'n' whistles.

    Online apps are fine, but if you're going to charge for them, bundle them into a full enterprise cloud service. This could get to the point where users can't tell the difference between a desktop app and a cloud app. All they're going to see is that they're being charged for something that has fewer features than OpenOffice. Even a dedicated Windows ME user can see where that's going.

    Mine's the retro anorak with a copy of Word Perfect 6 in the left pocket.

  4. jake Silver badge

    I don't get it.

    Disk is cheap. CPU is cheap. RAM is cheap. LAN is cheap.

    But external bandwidth is (in comparison) quite expensive.

    On top of that, why on earth would a company trust their data with a third party? Adding complexity pretty much ensures data loss and/or data theft ... Note that I'm discussing companies here, not induhviduals ... people are stupid as a whole, and you'll always find a sucker or three. But companies? I don't get it.

    Someone must be serving some particularly tasty cool-aid ...

  5. Nick Charlton
    Thumb Down

    Talking about Something before they have it

    I find it amusing that Microsoft still, after the failures of Vista start marketing their products before they've actually made them.

    The same went for WinFS among others which then hurt the company more by them not delivering what they promise.

    Microsoft needs to unveil a product as they have some to a stage where they feel it just about works. The reactions would be much different if they weren't just talking about it, but were infact going to release it in a few weeks.

  6. yeah, right.

    back to the... past?

    Way-back-when, we had these mainframes to which we connected terminals. If the connection went out, or the mainframe went down, no work was done.

    Now we have this thing being billed as the "cloud", which is nothing more than centrally based processing using your terminal as, effectively, an almost dumb client. And again, if the connection goes down or the servers (ie: mainframe) goes down, the entire organization depending on these tools is out of luck.

    Keeping the tools you need local makes sense. What Microsoft and others are selling is nothing more than perpetual lock-in. Especially if you store you data on their mainframe, in which case it really is a "pay or die" system.

  7. John
    Thumb Up

    What about google Chrome?

    Any word on their arch-rival's kick-arse new browser?

    btw 3 rocks.

  8. Robert Moore


    Open office 3.0.

    Works great.


    Cross platform

    Doesn't make me yell "Stop #^%%*ing helping me!"

    Now if someone would just make a replacement for the abomination that is outlook.

  9. Dom

    Works with FF and Safari?

    Yet another sign that MS has jumped the shark. They didn't get where they are today by ensuring compatibility with third-party software if there was an MS product in that niche. Hell, they went out of their way to *break* third-party products and it worked very well for them (apart from a few minor legal quibbles).

  10. joe

    one worm to ruin them all

    When the next one hits; what color will their cloud be?

    I've got some possible names. Hows rain, lightening and thunder. Given that they probably bolted on a web interface to the good/bloated old office code, i can just see this as the world's largest target.

    I hope it hails in Redmond!

  11. Spearbox



  12. Michael
    Black Helicopters

    What about local/national government ????

    Very handy.... no disks to go missing.

    (What could POSSIBLY go wrong????)

  13. Craig Roberts


    "Easy to take days off for the telecommuters. Just say your internet was down so you couldn't do anything for 3 days... in the summer... so you went to the beach."

    Shhhh! You're giving the game away! ;-)

    Although I might wait until I live somewhere that actually HAS a Summer first... Global "warming" my arse!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Works with Firefox...

    unless of course you are using linux.

    get fucked then!

  15. Mark Aggleton


    Firefox - Sh!t

    Safari - slightly better

    Why no opera?

  16. JohnG


    Microsoft has lost the plot. As I see it, MS Office has been the main reason that most companies would not contemplate moving from Windows for desktops and notebooks. All they have to do is maintain Office in the number one slot - but if they fail to do this, then the ever-improving OpenOffice is waiting in the wings. I have been using OpenOffice at home for a few years now and have no problem swapping files with MS Office in use at work.

    Some cloud issues: How many people or companies would trust Microsoft with thier data and that of their clients? Would European companies and other organisations be able to meet EU data protection laws if they allow data to be stored outside the EU? Could they be sure that the US authorities would not pry into sensitive data to benefit US competitors? When disk storage is so cheap, why would I want to store everything in a cloud, across an unreliable network over which I have no control? If Microsoft change the T&Cs of their cloud, will they allow/assist users to export their data?

  17. Loki

    Stripped down version???

    So basically, they are removing all the features that nobody uses, needs, or wants, and repackaging for the web.

    So basically that means OO.o probably has more features than this web version of office?

  18. Lewis Mettler

    nothing wrong with the cloud unless it is MS

    Ok, there is something wrong with the cloud. But, it also has its uses.

    The problem is Microsoft.

    If you have Internet Explorer, it is because your opinion just does not count. Microsoft prevents that.

    You can pay Microsoft hundreds of dollars just to get the priviledge of paying them even more for the cloud stuff.

    No thanks.

    The stuff in the cloud will eliminate paying Microsoft for anything and then you wont have to pay for Internet Explorer either.

    Microsoft thinks it is okay to rape everyone with IE if they just permit other browsers to play along.

    Stop the rape.

  19. Pete Burgess
    Thumb Down

    Safari? Really?

    I've just followed the link from the article and clicked on "Get Started" just to have a nose... and am presented with a nice message:

    "To use Microsoft Office Live, your computer must meet one of the following requirements:

    Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or 7, running on Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 or Windows Vista. You can download Internet Explorer from the Windows Internet Explorer page.

    Mozilla Firefox running on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, or Mac OS X 10.2.x and later. You can download Firefox from the Firefox download page."

    Could just be that it's in beta, but if they are claiming Safari compatibility, then you'd have thought the beta would also work.... ho hum.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Yawn !

    Another irrelevant attempt by M$ at lock in. OO3 is just fine thanks.

  21. Pete James
    Paris Hilton

    Memories are made of this.....

    "I find it amusing that Microsoft still, after the failures of Vista start marketing their products before they've actually made them."

    Go back to the utter lies we were fed that became Exchange then. Frankly, they should have been kicked a lot harder by the press for that debacle.

    Personally I like MSO2007 but I wouldn't be insterested in some web-app version with probably half the features I use culled and a price model that I would bet will cost me more long term anyway.

    I choose Paris. Both are back alleys I wouldn't go down.

  22. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Buy Office to get Office on the web

    That's what I'm sure I read you had to do. Buy a copy of Office to get a web version of it? why not leave your home PC switched on an RDP to it instead.

  23. Neil Greatorex

    @Works with Firefox...

    "unless of course you are using linux."

    In which case you will have no need, or desire, to use decaf Office.


  24. Michael


    Does it work or is it simply vapourware

  25. Mike Crawshaw

    @JohnG - another Cloud Issue

    John, you state quite accurately that:

    "Would European companies and other organisations be able to meet EU data protection laws if they allow data to be stored outside the EU? Could they be sure that the US authorities would not pry into sensitive data to benefit US competitors?"

    It's not just US corporations that we need to worry about - various branches of the have shown over and over that they are more than happy to assist everyone in the world to make sure that they're not a <terrrrrist/peedyfile/gambler/other unsavoury sort> by inspecting, copying & storing any data they can get their grubby hands on, and demanding extra data from other countries, travellers, someone sending an email that "crosses a US border" etc. They are Johnny 5 incarnate - "Data, Data, NEED MORE DATA!!!"

    FSM help us if anyone in Kentucky gets access...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Don't forget the PC World chavs

    I think this might work in a sense (i.e. no one is going to make any money out of it obviously but there will be some takers). You know all those people you see queuing at the PC World checkouts and TechGuys counters? Need I say any more?

  27. Eduard Coli

    New boss, old boss, same

    M$ seems to be sticking to its original game plan and slowly, slowly turning to software as "service" to glean the last bit of juice from it's "customers" and it is becoming more obvious despite the pains caused by Vista the plan is to make Windows a launching pad for this above all else.

    When you buy Microsoft you own nothing but air and permission to use their software for as long as they allow you to.

  28. TimM

    Re: I don't get it

    "Disk is cheap. CPU is cheap. RAM is cheap. LAN is cheap.

    But external bandwidth is (in comparison) quite expensive."

    But MS Office is also quite expensive.

    However, it all depends how MS price their online service. If it is cheaper than buying the full product, especially if you can write documents on any PC without having to buy a licence for each one, then it's attractive.

    Not as attractive as Google's offering though which is free (though somewhat limited in features).

    Personally, for the desktop office experience though, OpenOffice is by far the best around. It's free and does 99.9% of what most users need (ignoring Outlook, but then there's Thunberbird, also free).

    Tie up OpenOffice with Google's online service and you've got document editing wherever you like, for free (not counting bandwidth costs).

    Oh, and also online services enable netbooks and other low-spec devices (smartphones even, including the iPhone), to have an Office suite without needing the power and memory to install MS Office or even OpenOffice.

    The downside is the reliance on a net connection, but you can have data and the app cached locally (see Google Gears), and on the other hand is it safer to have your data spread around a cloud network amongst highly available and failoverable servers, than sat on your hard disc at home waiting for your PC to crash and burn, get infected with a virus, or your house to burn down?

  29. TeeCee Gold badge

    Well that sucks!

    Browse to. Log in (usual MS one). Get started. Add file (a perfectly ordinary, bog standard, no frills, Word 2k3 doc.). So far so painless.

    Click file to open:

    "This file cannot be viewed in web format. Click here to download and open with Word".

    And the point of this was what exactly?

    You can almost *feel* the FAIL.

  30. Nigel Wright
    Thumb Down

    The cloud? The latest fad

    Lose your connection, lose access to your data = impact on business

    I wouldn't fancy being hostage to ransom that could occur if my data and apps were off premises. The cloud is nothing more than replacing one network with another kind of network and trying to move customers to a subscription based model.

  31. Neoc

    @Mike Crawshaw

    @''They are Johnny 5 incarnate - "Data, Data, NEED MORE DATA!!!"''

    Erm... shouldn't that be "Input. Input! Need more INPUT!"?

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