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In another clear sign that Microsoft sees the threat posed by its traditional business moving online, the company is readying a rival to Google's Documents and Spreadsheets.
The software maker is announcing Office Live Workspace, a free online tool for viewing, sharing and storing--but not editing--Office documents online. (It's existing Office Live efforts will be rebranded as Office Live Small Business.) It's not quite ready--starting Monday customers will be able to put in their name to be part of a beta testing program expected to begin later this year.
Microsoft Office Heading to the Web [news.com]
This will be a useful collaboration tool, although, without editing capability it kind of limits its usefulness.
This provides document accessiblity from anywhere, which is at least a step in the right direction. This lets them postpone the inevitable decision of how to charge, or whether to charge at all, for online document creation and editing.
I like the results Live produces at the moment, it is getting better all the time. I think the Live Office will spawn some interest in the life of Joe Average for online collab tools and the only thing, that really is missing is some speed from MS. If they solve their slacky first tries they might gain significant market share in the next 3 years!
As a Linux geek I have all the necessary objections, but I fear that MS will roll out real good stuff in the next 10 years which will earn the trust of the Blue Chips...
I like the results Live produces at the moment, it is getting better all the time.
My guess is that there will be people in Redmond who will sleep just a little easier at night with a comment like that! I've seen these guys agonizing over their quality issues and seeing a Linux geek saying "better" is going to be a welcome breath of fresh air.
Office already has some elements of a live version - but more the Outlook stuff and also some project management tools. I would expect they will combine a paid model with an ad supported model so the choice is yours. I hate ads. Even live space has a non-ad model if you get the credit card out.