Microsoft offering new Office Live Workspace

Microsoft is offering a new capability to match their competitors web offerings by providing Office Live Workspace.

Microsoft Joins Online Productivity Battle With Office Live Workspaces — Microsoft Office

“Peopleare e-mailing documents all the time,” said Eric Gilmore, a Microsoft senior product manager for Microsoft Office. “That’s an inefficient way to do things when you want to work together.”Business users are desperate for better online, real-timecollaboration, and Microsoft has been seen as a laggard behind the likes of Google, with its online Docs & Spreadsheets, and Zoho, which also offers an online productivity suite. Both are free, don’t require a download, and let users edit and share documents online. So far, they have only some of the functionality of Office, particularly Excel and PowerPoint, and that’s one of the main reasons they haven’t
been a big threat to Office’s stronghold.
Office Live Workspace mixes Web functionality with a small download. With it, people can save a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document to the Workspace Web site by clicking a toolbar button in their Office app itself. Authors can store, share, or allow others to comment on or even edit the documents, and have granular control over who they let in. The site lets non-Office users view and comment on documents as well as Office users. Much of that is reminiscent of what employees at larger
businesses can do with SharePoint, though Microsoft won’t say for now whether Office Live Workspace is based on SharePoint. There’s also a tie-in with Outlook’s tasks and events features, though Microsoft isn’t yet saying how that works.

The New York Times describes how, unlike their web-based competitors, users still need Office on their computers.

Storing Files on the Internet, Microsoft Style – New York Times

Microsoft is making announcements today that it plans to offer a free service, called Office Live Workspace, that will allow people to store, access and share documents online. A user will be able store up to 1,000 documents on a workspace on the Web.

But a Word or Excel document in the online workspace can be edited only if the user has bought Microsoft’s Word or Excel software. “The ideal case is where a person has Office,” said Rajesh Jha, a vice president for Microsoft Office Live products.

In an offering for larger companies, Microsoft will host the data center software for e-mail, workgroup collaboration and instant messaging and provide those as online services to corporate customers with 5,000 or more users of Microsoft Office desktop software, a product second only to Windows as a profit maker for the software giant.

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