Microsoft Opening Up Office Web Apps

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Microosft has announced that its ongoing technical preview of the web-based version of its upcoming Microsoft Office 2010 suite is to be opened up to new users via online application.

Microsoft Office 2010 Logo

Microsoft’s Office 2010 web apps is a suite of web-based applications for those who don’t mind using their office suite in a browser. It includes web-based versions of Word and Excel, though for the moment there seems to be relatively little else. The aims seems to be to make the web-based version of Microsoft Office 2010 available for free to as many users as possible. These kinds of “technical previews” are excellent for both getting the word out and building a bit of buzz around the new suite.

Of course, with the public beta of Microsoft’s soon-to-be-released web-based office suite slated to start at some stage in November, we’d imagine that those users who sign up now won’t be enjoying exclusive access for too long.

Still, it’s nice to see that, in among all of the other details on Office 2010’s web apps is that it’ll support browsers other than Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer, with support now extending to Internet Exporer 7 and up, Firefox 3.5 and up, and Safari 4 (for Mac users, perhaps not for those limited number of PC Safari users out there). It’s a little interesting to see that Microsoft hasn’t decided to support Internet Explorer 6, despite having said quite recently that it was still quite a valid option for businesses (and having a bit of a hissy fit when Google addressed it with its Chrome Frame browser-within-a-browser option).

It’ll be interesting to see how the OpenOffice.Org crowd responds to Microsoft’s web-based offering, as it’s looking as though the free version of Office 2010’s web apps could very well muddy the water when it comes to free office suites (an area in which OpenOffice.Org has been largely unopposed for quite some time). For our money, we’re not sure a web-based office is something we’d like to tangle with… we’ve got a minor dose of cloud-based fear when it comes to losing documents. For now, we’re curious to see just how many people are happy to move away from standalone apps and onto web apps for office work.

If you’re interested in signing up for the “expanded Technical Preview” then you should take a gander at Microsoft’s Office Web Apps blog post about signing up. You’ll need an MSN Live account, but by now we imagine just about everyone already has one of those.

[Update: We’ve been informed that the applications for access to Office web apps are only open to users in the US or Japan for now… so no luck for Europeans here 😦 ]

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5 Responses to “Microsoft Opening Up Office Web Apps”

  1. Dave Says:

    Doesn’t work in Ireland I’m afraid. US or Japan only?

    And I had to go through all the hassle of getting a Live login too.

    > You’ll need an MSN Live account, but by now
    > we imagine just about everyone already has
    > one of those.
    You’d be surprised. Don’t need one in the Google world.

    • komplettie Says:

      I’d attempted to sign in using mine, but it told me I no longer had a Live account. It happens me on and off so I’d not considered it. Sorry to have misled 😦

  2. Andy Says:

    Thanks for this great article on the upcoming Microsoft Web Apps! These are exciting new applications that are going to change the way we work! Keep up to date with what is going on with Web Apps here: http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010

    Keep up the great posts!

    Cheers,
    Andy
    MSFT Office Live Outreach Team

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