Yesterday, Microsoft issued a press release announcing web-based versions of it’s Office software designed to allow users to collaborate live in an online workspace. Unfortunately, potential users will be required to have Microsoft Office installed on the computer they wish to use Office Live Workspace. I can understand Microsoft wanting to keep being able to sell copies fo MS Office. And I can also understand Microsoft wishing to compete with Google, as Google Docs can be considered a reasonable alternative to MS Office, so long as you don’t need any of the more advanced features. What I don’t understand is the need for the MS Office requirement to use it. If Microsoft truly wants to compete with Google, they would release a web-based version of the basic MS Office products (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) for free, cutting out some of the more advanced features, but leaving in some of the features that would make them better than Google Docs, starting some real competition.
I applaud Microsoft for making the attempt, but it falls short of actually being a useful attempt. I don’t see this getting Microsoft anymore business. The only thing it really allows for is easier online collaboration for people who already own MS Office. As some of the tags say in the Slashdot article below, this is too little too late.
Microsoft punts web-based apps to the masses (The Register)