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Microsoft Corp will soon launch a full range of online versions of its software products, including the Office suite, and expects the weak economy to accelerate growth of the nascent Web-based software market, a senior executive said on Monday.
Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft's business division, is leading the company's entry into the "software as a service" market, which offers programs that are hosted online instead of downloaded to computer hard drives.
"We expect fully that the full range of Office utilities, from the most advanced to simpler lightweight versions, will be available with a range of options: ad-funded, subscriptions-based, traditional licensing fees, and so forth. So you should expect to see that full array," he said.
[edited by: engine at 1:57 pm (utc) on Dec. 11, 2008]
The consumer market really doesn't factor into a lot of MS's plans with these big suites. They're looking for another excuse to get the corporate IT people motivated to buy more licences.
Free and portable (USB stick) office software is already available, so what's the point?
the key is in this sentence: "We may have underestimated the extent to which customers will move in this direction"
Microsoft, up til now, have denied a need for online versions of Word etc.,
"What we think is in five years, 50 percent of the use of Exchange and Sharepoint could be serviced from the cloud," Elop told Reuters in an interview.
No specifics on other programs, but M$ cannot afford to leave the whole shebang to Google Docs. Reality strikes again ;)
For Google, it makes sense. They can scare Microsoft and their shareholders even if online office software is a waste of time. If MS bite (as they have done) then they are wasting resources on a white elephant - this has to be good for Google. If online office software does become profitable then Google still does ok.
If I was a Google exec, I would also be in favor of developing this software because for Google, it's a no-lose decision (if MS follows suit).
If I was working for MS, I would be more worried about Android. Combined with an ARM processor, ram and flash, this is a whole computer except for display and keyboard. In other words, mobile phones will become portable computers that simply need to be docked to a display and keyboard.