Microsoft Office to go online — for free

Discussion in 'OS X and OS X Apps' started by jha, Jul 14, 2009.

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  1. jha

    jha Active Member

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    Get this: Microsoft – the king of paid software – will announce today that it is going to give a version of Office away for free online.

    read here
     
  2. alistair

    alistair Member

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    $10 says it'll require Silverlight.

    Which means I'll be avoiding it like the plague.
     
  3. rbenzon

    rbenzon Super
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    not a bad move to counter web OS plays like google chrome. but i am not really sure that it'll pay off. the dynamics aren't that simple.

    but this is only relevant in first world markets. the third world gets its office free too, via rampant piracy. am not advocating piracy, but that's the reality. so between a free fast desktop and a "free web-based office", the choice for the third world is clear.
     
  4. alistair

    alistair Member

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    Not really. There've been many times when I've received an office document as an attachment and either a) I'm reading mail on a public/shared computer, or b) I don't want to have to download the attachment separately, then launch my favorite office suite just to browse/print its contents.

    In those cases, often it's easier to simply open the document in Google Docs.

    Now add basic editing capability (Microsoft themselves have said Office Web Applications won't be the full equivalent of the desktop suite—and how could they?), and more importantly, the ability to instantly share, track and collaborate on documents with your colleagues and now you really have something.

    What Microsoft can, and probably will, bring to the table is the ability to seamlessly edit a document online and offline—edit/share/collaborate online, but if you want the full set of tools just say "open in desktop" and it'll launch Word/Excel/PowerPoint. Or, if you're mobile, have any changes made on the go immediately/transparently sync to the online versions as soon as you get a wifi signal.

    Until Google releases Chrome OS, or, perchance integrates with OpenOffice.org, then that feature might actually strengthen Microsoft Office's entrenched position vs. both its offline and online competitors.

    So, the point isn't about competing on price-point, but offering features that are useful whether you're from the 1st or 3rd world.

    Also—pirated apps aren't 100% 'free'. In fact, they can and do come with significant risk (from malware to prosecution), and at least some cost (bandwidth to download, or the street cost of the bootleg copy). A completely 'free' app, even if online only and crippled, can be a safer, more responsible alternative. But from that perspective, OOo is an even better (free as in liberty, offline, all major features) choice.
     
  5. rowinms

    rowinms Member

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    hmmm .... competing with iWORK online?
     
  6. rbenzon

    rbenzon Super
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    good point, however small that market might be.

    but as the article points out, "Capossela told me that Microsoft has studied it closely, and Office Web Applications, the free, ad-supported version of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, will probably appeal to tightwads who weren’t going to buy a copy of Office anyway. This way, rather than force those folks into Google’s arms, Microsoft can hook them into its online world and tempt them with its latest technology."

    which goes back to my point. the third world is a world of tightwads, not by choice, but by the sheer lack of purchasing power. most of them will still buy pirated, because even if it's not really free, it sure is a better bang for their buck. besides, the third world would rather spend their precious prepaid internet time either network gaming, or social networking. very few will want to pay internet time for ms office use.

    maybe you should work for microsoft and give them better ideas. ;)

    sure, but risks aren't foremost in the minds of cheapskates. ;)
     
    #6 rbenzon, Jul 15, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2009
  7. Salaryman Ryan

    Salaryman Ryan PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Actually this is actually quite a big deal especially for us Non MS Office users (Mac/Linux users). This means we do not need to install the MS Bloatware office on our Macs if we want to read, save and manipulate office documents. I sure hope they included a file conversion feature as well.
     
  8. alistair

    alistair Member

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    Then Microsoft misunderstands the market again. Let's ignore the obvious posturing against Google and focus on the economics.

    People who would pirate Office don't need OWA. They already have a fully-capable, offline office suite.

    People who wouldn't use Office in the first place, also won't use OWA. These are the people, say, who're happy with iWork.

    Finally, people who need an office suite, but can't afford to pay for iWork or Office, and don't want to pirate, are better served by OpenOffice.org or NeoOffice anyway.

    The only way I see it for OWA to generate any value whatsoever for Microsoft is for them to leverage (hate that word) the near monopoly of Office and draw people away from Office's competitors.
    No thanks. I think the weather up in Redmond sucks compared to down in Mountain View. :p
     
  9. jaytrixz

    jaytrixz Active Member

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    I bet this will be slow and will require many add-ons. Don't forget about the hangs. :p
     
  10. Salaryman Ryan

    Salaryman Ryan PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Looks like you can only access its full features when you use Internet Exploder. Nope I'm staying with Google Docs, thank you very much.
     
  11. Shinrai

    Shinrai Guest

    I wonder how this will catch on with the speeds we have right now. I'd rather not dedicate my entire net connection just to use Office. It would be a boon though to net cafes, no more expensive licenses.
     
  12. rowinms

    rowinms Member

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    this is good for people connected to good internet, especially the bandwidth.
     
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