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back to article Microsoft's online Office variant preps for business

You'll get a taste of what a web-based version of Microsoft's Office for Firefox, Safari, the iPhone and Internet Explorer can do later this year. Microsoft confirmed Wednesday that Office Web applications - announced last October - will be ready for testing along with the next edition of its Office suite, Office 2010, in the …

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Linux

Microsoft has already...

...changed the way I work.

These days I work on Linux.

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This will be interesting!

The only reason half th country has MS products is a) they got them "free" with the PC or b) they or their mates ripped them off.

Other than business and genuine MS fans, lets see how this affects MS's market saturation when you can no longer rip MS products off!

( I'm an Apple/Penguin fanboi, so I have my popcorn and ring-side seat ready! )

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Office on Linux

So does this mean I'll be able to use Web based MS Office on Linux with Moonlight if I choose?

Could be interesting...

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Gates Horns

Hopefully

they'll have removed those god-awful "ribbons" and gone back to sensible menus.

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"Silverlight will provide sharp images"

I find images do that. Why do they keep pushing this crap?

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Security

"Microsoft's biggest problem when it comes to shipping new versions of Office is getting the existing install base to upgrade."

Yeah but their biggest problem with everything is security.

Frankly I wouldn't trust them to push shit down a pipe, never mind do things to my trusted data.

If their previous security record is anything to go by then adding a table to a word document (for example) will allow Eastern European Botmasters to install their horrible software on my machine...and anyone who uses Excel to keep track of their home finances will probably end up revealing their financial secrets to half the world.

I'd rather put my 'nads in a mincer than let them handle my data.

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Inertia is Ambiguous

Sorry.

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Microsoft's Biggest Problem...

... is inertia. As you say Office does what's required for probably 90% of users who don't need or want any more. Indeed most of them probably don't know about paragraph or font formatting; which is why nearly 100% of documents are in Times New Roman 10pt. Since Microsoft stopped completely changing (so that the older programs could make no sense whatsover of) the format of .doc and .xls at every release at Office 97 there's been no reason to upgrade. Of course they're now trying to re-introduce this lockin tactic with the docx/xlsx format and a spurious 'standard'. Good luck to them.

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Black Helicopters

Yawn

Personal email archives? What's new about that? Lotus Notes has done it for years!

I suppose the main "feature" of Office 2010 will be more "collaborative working" features - i.e. the belief that everyone in the office wants to work on the same document at the same time without physically meeting each other...

As for the web version, what's the betting it will be slow, buggy and not compatible with Moonlight? I'm also sceptical about their claim it'll run on any browser. I wouldn't be surprised if certain features are "optimised" for IE8, and running it on anything else will be a nightmare...

Black chopper because it's another step on Microsoft's mission to rule the (online) world...

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(untitled)

This may not be the first time you've seen the words 'OOXML' and 'ten-foot pole' in the same comment.

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They simply have to undo the 2007 mess..

If MS would undo the unholy mess they made of the UI with 2007 that would certainly offer a productivity gain. I have never had to look so often for the most basic functions in my life, and adding an online facility to the help means you suffer the google effect on top: 30 answers offering everything including video sessions, but NOT the information you need.

So, I think their claim of "improved" productivity may need adjusting, it will be more "returning the productivity we nuked" - in other words, nothing has changed.

The best solution is thus not to upgrade from Office 2003. A bit like sticking with XP..

Meanwhile, OpenOffice keeps getting better, and is standards compliant with EU directives. Hmmm..

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Standing up for office

Never thought I'd be the one asking this- but why is everyone so down on office?

My experience of office is that it generally is a good product - the biggest issue always seems to be the person operating it. Why does it do this? they say - well it's because you've not defined this, understood that, and checked this I reply.

It's like complaining that your guitar doesn't work because you can't get the tunes to sound how you want. Well, either skill up or go buy Guitar Hero, or a CD. What is it with people wanting tools to be versatile, professional, etc AND so easy you can use them without learning how, or even thinking in some cases.

For doing lots of little bits of one off data manipulation Excel is totally weapon of choice. With VBA office lets you do practically anything. Most people complain because what they want is a tool somewhere just above wordpad and a calculator.

</rant>

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complicated drop down menus?

i can't imagine anything simpler than something you click on which presents a series of (reasonably) logically structured options.

It's pretty much how every application within windows, linux & osx present it's options so if you're struggling with the concept a computer just might not be for you.

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Crippleware

I would have thought that it would be against Microsoft's interests to make the online jobby too functional - otherwise it will cannibalise sales of the desktop version. It'll be crippleware. Unless you actually pay for the web stuff.

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@Geoff Mackenzie

"Why do they keep pushing this crap?"

Simple , they want Silverlight to be where Adobe Flash is now. Won't happen of course any more than the Zune will knock the iPod off its pedestal, but bless them, MS keep trying.

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Tom
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More data encryption methods

office software - the man with the red flag walking slowly in front of your computer.

MS - reinventing the wheel to put under my matter transporter so I can wheel it into the corner when I've finished with it for the day.

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Alert

Scary stuff

I don’t suppose the inertia is down to the horrendous cost by any chance?

Almost every MS update download my PC pulls is a host of security fixes to my office suite so you can imagine my dread at the prospect of a distributed web-enabled version sending my private data hither and thither.

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Silver badge

Install YAB pluggin?

On the net these days, we need java, flash and a whole host of other bits and pieces to view various websites. Now we need to use yet another one. Why can't they use flash like everyone else.

And as for business documents edited via a web based editor. Its not exactly secure. Google proved that recently.

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INERTIA

is the tendency of moving objects to keep moving and static objects to remain static. There is no need for Microsoft to come out with "new improved" user interfaces and data formats for such commonly used tools as Excel and Word. It drives our support staff crazy to have to navigate the different locations of normal functions in Excel. We hate getting docx/xlsx formats from frustrated users who received them in e-mail.

Just about everyone here uses XP. All our copies of Office are licensed. While there are a few Office 2007 users, most of us use Office 2003 and Access XP, with Access 97 available for developers who have to communicate with FoxPro data. (MS really messed up with their FoxPro support. We have actually gone back to programming for Visual FP, for distribution to other agencies.)

Whether Microsoft like it or not, there is enormous variability of hardware and software even within an organisation, not to mention in inter-agency communication. This is true even for all-MS environments.

We use Google Docs for the odd tracking application that requires cross-agency participation. But in general we are not ready to put our data into the hands of some unknown entity, especially one with such poor security as MS.

I'm writing from home, on my Mac. I use OpenOffice.org applications here.

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Anonymous Coward

Stop whining

Stop whining about Office 2007. Spend fifteen minutes test drving it, and you'll find that the money, time and effort MS has spent on research into ergonomics has paid off and it is easier and more productive to use.

If you want to have a reverse-engineered copy of Office 97, get Open Office or whatever its called this week. Or Lotus ShiteSuite.

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Inertia

Damn right, I remember when I worked for the Microsoft empire, we got Office 4.2, which included Excel 5 (there was a cool (at the time, though not as cool as later Easter Eggs) Easter Egg that generated the credits of the design team by spinning dots in various patterns into the names of the team members if you Ctrl+Shift+Alt clicked the toolbar deck of cards icon).

Anyway, I remember being told at the time, that this version of Excel had been used to design a race-winning yacht. 15 years later, when I see what most people use Excel for, I always chuckle and wonder why the hell anyone ever upgraded from 5!

These applications have been feature rich since the year dot. Taking them online does seem to be an innovation at last, especially if it makes Microsoft Office truly cross-platform. I'll use an ad-supported version, but I'm not paying for it unless Microsoft can clearly justify it's cost by showing what development other than GUI enhancements they've been doing for the last 15 years. They can't justify a £200 refresh every couple of years for giving some old code a fresh lick of paint. Maybe that's over-simplistic, but given the size of their market and the price of the product, it's difficult for me to see that revenue going anywhere other than the bank.

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Office 2007 is shite

what's with the fucking toolbars!? I had to get third party software to make it the same as 2003, because I spent over 20 minutes looking for a way to remove page-breaks.

Advice to the developers at Redmont... if it ain't broke... don't fix it!!!

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silverlight

it wouldn't surprise me if Office 2010 will have been developed for .NET rather than in unmanaged C++, hence the ability to run via silverlight.

What is more interesting is that they would have bothered making a single-document interface in Javascript at all. wonder if having multiple tabs will allow you to have a multi-document interface without silverlight...

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Linux

Microsoft is a one-trick pony

And once again, Microsoft demonstrates that it is a one-trick pony. Windows and Office are really the only things keeping them going ... and even those bastions are starting to erode now. Slowly, but it's happening. I look forward to the collapse of the Evil Empire.

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Anonymous Coward

2007 Menu system

It is shite, no two ways about it.

You might have the best designed icons in the world, grouped together in a way that people who participate in surveys find the most logical, but the icons are only designed to make you think of a word so why not just have the word.

Sure it's new and innovative, but is it really? Innovation for innovation's sake is not a good thing, it's something we see a lot from Microsoft when they choose to change everything around just to (apparently) piss everyone off. All in the name of innovation of course as the new person to find themselves in the interface design seat looks for ways to make their mark. Out with the old system that worked just fine, and in with this new ribbon interface because someone thought it was better, and therefore, so will you.

Besides, what has improved between Office 2003 and Office 2007? not much really from your standard user point of view, Microsoft needs the new interface to make it look like a new product, because lets face it, it's just an upgrade.

Fuck knows what this web version will be like, I predict businesses will stay off the web version for years to come and then a fair chunk will move to an alternative like Open Office which despite what MS fanbois say, is more than adequate for your standard office borg to do basic word processing, cobble together presentations and store lists in a spreadsheet.

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"eagerly anticipated"

Oh yeah ? By who ? The 90% of users that are still happily using Office 2000 ?

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Gates Horns

Standing up for Office???

@Paul Powell.

I don't think everyone's down on Office, just the pointless tinkering MS have been doing. Frankly Office 97 is enough for most people, and Office 2003 a little better. MS broke the perfectly adequate UI with 2007, without giving sufficient benefit.

The real problem is that MS haven't fixed the problems that have been the same since Office 6 (or whatever the early to mid-Nineties version was called), including the hopeless paragraph/heading numbering (trying to do appendices still makes me cry), tricky cross-referencing, useless header & footer control. you know, the basics. Once you've fixed those MS, then you can start messing with the eye-candy.

I still use Office at the, erm, office (2003, thanks); but have slowly been removing bits of Office 2008 from my Mac at home in lieu of iWork. I still have Word installed just in case I get emailed a doc that Pages can't cope with. Don't really use it much though...

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Outlook

As long as they remove stupid MS Word rendering engine from Outlook then ill be happy.

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Am I the only one...

...who actually *likes* the ribbon interface? I mean yeah, for the first day or so I was grumbling while I hunted down a few more obscure bits, but overall it makes everything I do faster and easier. I'm glad Microsoft had the balls to push forward and replace 20 years of increasingly complicated drop-down menus with something actually innovative.

(Disclaimer for those who are likely to jump to conclusions about my "fan boy" status. I own both PCs and Macs and was once an ardent OS/2 supporter. So I have no particular love for Microsoft.)

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This is the ONLY app I'd need from Open Source

An API compliant Outlook replacement.

The very moment someone comes up with something that is API compliant so mobile phone code will play with it and access to decent calendaring resources the game is over for MS. Until that time they have pretty much free reign amongst execs.

And *please* don't mention Evolution, because it isn't.

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@AC on Office 2007

I've tried, and it takes more than 15 minutes to get to grips with the new way of presenting things. I'm sure I could get used to it, but this is not the point for people who have to use more than one computer (one at work, the Wife's system running Office 2003 and the Kids systems running Student and Home edition 2007). The kids even complain that it's different from what they run at School.

The ribbon is anti-productive in the short-term, and disruptive in the long term. Just imagine being in the help desk for an office using both versions. It's enough to drive you barmy!

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Black Helicopters

Its not that bad surely?

If you dont have openoffice installed, or you didnt get it shipped with your pc, or you havent forked out 200+ quid.

If you only do 1 or 2 documents then a web based system cant be that bad.

For webmasters Ioncube does something very similar, they take your php code and encrypt it for the princely sum of 0.50 per job. if you only want to encrypt 2 or 3 pages, and dont want to fork out 300+ quid

The problem here is the name doing it is MICROSOFT, but microsoft are just a company, its the hackers that make your computers insecure, its the criminal gangs who try to steal your financial information, the id theives who rob your credit, and all the other fucking wankers that target microsoft.

so what turns out to be not half a bad idea is fucked up because of stupid wankers on the internet.

To the best of my knowledge microsoft dont sell customer data, so as long as the wankers dont hack into it, and lets be fair we know for a fact they will try to, then we shall see.

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