Microsoft announces web based Office Applications

Finally the move from Microsoft we have been waiting for quite some time. MS is going to bring (parts of ) its Office Suite into the Browser.

As announced today MS Office Web Apps will run not only within IE but also with Firefox and Safari. The web apps will be “lightweight versions” of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, but Microsoft said at the MS PDC the functionality included should be comparable to Google’s online office suite.

ReadWriteWeb (link below) has published information that the technology behind the MS web apps will be HTML and AJAX together with some MS Silverlight components.

The use of MS Silverlight raises questions regarding the full usability with operating systems beyond MS Windows and we are waiting how Google will react to this announcement from MS and when we will finally see a full Office suite based on Adobe’s Flash / Air technologies.

Microsoft will offer its web based Office applications as ad or subscription funded hosted solutions or through existing “volume licensing agreements”.

Below a short video with Chris Bryant, MS Group Product Manager, Office introducing the web apps.

It will be interesting to see how MS will tie in these applications with its newly announced cloud computing services called Azure and the different pricing models it will come up for it, and how this might cannibalize sales of its thick client office software.

A limited preview will be made available later this year via MS Live. Microsoft has only said that the web based office solutions will be part of the next version of Office but has not announced a Beta / release date so far.

More information:
ReadwriteWeb on the MS office web apps
Microsoft Office Live Workspace with more information and screenshots

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