Office 2010 Launches, Free Office Web Apps Coming To The Cloud

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News Posted: Thu, May 13 2010 5:34 PM
Simple software launches don't often grace the front page here at Hot Hardware, but Office is the 800lb. gorilla that no one can ignore. Yet. Google is working tirelessly to replace the need for standalone desktop Office products with Google Documents, an online suite of similar products that can be used on any machine connected to the Internet. It's a shift toward cloud-based computing, and Microsoft's obviously not ignoring that bandwagon.

This week, the company launched their latest version of Office: Office 2010. Early reviews have found that this shouldn't be high on your upgrade list if you're a simple home user, but for enterprises who need to create files that are more graphically intense (or need Excel files larger than 2GB), there's reason to buy. What's most exciting on the consumer front, however, isn't the package you'll buy in a store: it's the one that you'll never buy at all.


In a groundbreaking move, Microsoft has decided to make Office Web Apps available without charge, but they won't go live for PC users until June. These are designed to "complement" the real Office suite, offering less functionality but more flexibility. Files are made and saved into the cloud, helping you to edit and send things from any machine, anywhere. It's a bold move by Microsoft, who could very well lose valuable dollars by giving users a cheaper, more basic option. It's clear that not everyone needs the best and brightest: netbooks have exploded because they're "good enough," and we bet that Office Web Apps will be equally "good enough" for most users.

Microsoft has stated that they're serious about getting into the cloud, and this is proof. Now, time to hurry and wait for June to get here in order to try it out...
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3vi1 replied on Thu, May 13 2010 9:23 PM

>> we bet that Office Web Apps will be equally "good enough" for most users.

Rather than use these crippled apps, I would suggest checking out:

Google Docs (http://docs.google.com): As mentioned above, this is what MS is trying to copy/kill, and is a more mature solution.

or,

OpenOffice (http://www.openoffice.org): Full featured, able to use MS formatted docs, free, and not hostage to an Internet connection.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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realneil replied on Fri, May 14 2010 8:32 AM

I agree with 3vi1 on this. The Borg is just trying to eliminate/assimilate it's competition and should not be encouraged. Both of the other solutions he suggests are viable, free, and meant to provide a quality service to people who are tired of paying hundreds every few years for a good word processing suite. They are completely compatible with the Borg's Office suite too.

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digitaldd replied on Fri, May 14 2010 9:16 AM

Google docs has all the functionality of WordPad with a spell checker. As for StarOffice/OpenOffice it would be nice if Sun/Oracle didn't have to resort to this.

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Google docs is really lacking. For a home user OpenOffice is fine and I used it for years. That is, until MS started offering military unit sales, which lets those of us in the military who work for a unit with a commercial site license from MS buy copies for home use for less than $20 shipped to our door.

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3vi1 replied on Fri, May 14 2010 12:43 PM

DigitalDD: I think you misunderstood the article you linked.

That's a plugin for MICROSOFT OFFICE, not OpenOffice. It adds ODF 1.2 support to MS Office, which only natively supports v1.0. So, what's wrong with Sun charging for a closed-source plugin they developed for a for-pay office suite? It's not like the free software community wrote it.

And yes, Google Docs has room to grow (though it's not as bad as you exaggerate). Fortunately, we know Google won't grow it by using OS-specific plugins (ala SilverLight), and they won't quit improving it the second they've bankrupted the competition. This is very much unlike every single action in the history of Microsoft. So, I think Google is still the better choice compared to any web office MS cooks up.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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I'm running the RTM version of Professional Plus at work and it's a pretty nice piece of software. I agree that if you have 2007 at home, you probably don't need to upgrade unless you really really want 64-bit office.  Of course, I support Google Docs and Open Office too :P

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I still say office should be integrated into Windows! Even if they have to charge another fiddy or so for it!

It sucks that people must go around looking for it when they need it. They can make the updates for Office every other day just to control it, yet you still have to buy it separately? That sucks!

I don't use any of these programs, I leave that to the woman! Since she works in administration she needs all these types of programs. I just have to make sure they are working on the computer when she needs them. So from what I know, most offices rely on the MS Office as an industry standard. SO I haven't payed much attention to all the cross platform compatibly issues. So I will keep you informed when my woman tells me so:P

I hope they remember how easy it was for Janeway to take care of the Borg! Personally I would like to do the same, You know...Take Seven(-1) of nine, and make her my pet in order to take out the rest :)

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digitaldd replied on Mon, May 17 2010 1:13 PM

3vi1:

DigitalDD: I think you misunderstood the article you linked.

That's a plugin for MICROSOFT OFFICE, not OpenOffice. It adds ODF 1.2 support to MS Office, which only natively supports v1.0. So, what's wrong with Sun charging for a closed-source plugin they developed for a for-pay office suite? It's not like the free software community wrote it.

And yes, Google Docs has room to grow (though it's not as bad as you exaggerate). Fortunately, we know Google won't grow it by using OS-specific plugins (ala SilverLight), and they won't quit improving it the second they've bankrupted the competition. This is very much unlike every single action in the history of Microsoft. So, I think Google is still the better choice compared to any web office MS cooks up.

The plug-in has been free for the past few years, now that it works properly for most Open Office File types they start to charge for it. Oracle is a very different company from Sun they tend to nickel and dime their customers for everything, if they could get away with it they would charge money for a Java Runtime Environment. We will see how things pan out in the long run. Maybe they'll include their JRE in Windows and charge Microsoft for it that would work for me.

I'm sure it could be much worse though.

 

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Jgaler replied on Fri, May 21 2010 1:01 AM

Well I am using open office since long and totally satisfied with it. I don't think I am ready to pay that much high for MS office. I am Linux user as well as Windows user. I had installed both operating system on my computer and it works fine.

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3vi1 replied on Fri, May 21 2010 3:46 PM

digitaldd:

The plug-in has been free for the past few years, now that it works properly for most Open Office File types they start to charge for it.

If you offer something for free, you can't start charging for it when support becomes a burden?  I don't think there's any good argument that you can make that says they have to continue to develop and distribute their own closed source app for free.  It's especially silly when it's an app that makes a competitor's for-pay office suite support standards that your own free office suite already supports.

digitaldd:

Oracle is a very different company from Sun they tend to nickel and dime their customers for everything

Again... are you "their customer" if you're not paying them for anything?  If people don't like paying for the plugin, they can ask Microsoft to give them one for free.

digitaldd:

if they could get away with it they would charge money for a Java Runtime Environment. We will see how things pan out in the long run. Maybe they'll include their JRE in Windows and charge Microsoft for it that would work for me.

Never going to happen.

Almost the entire codebase was open-sourced and released under the GPL back in 2007.  Microsoft could include it for free right now if they wanted to, but there's no way in hell they would do something that eases the ability of developers to make their apps cross-platform.  MS has spent too much time trying to kill Java with .Net to change direction now.

On a related note:  VirtualBox 3.2 was released a few days ago with all new Oracle re-brandings.  Still free!

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hitech replied on Tue, Sep 7 2010 6:40 AM

Good to know. It will be great to program with server side services using MS office tools. 

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