back to article Microsoft's Office Web Apps - Google killing not included

The most intriguing piece of an otherwise predictable Office 2010 - which volume customers can get as of Tuesday - is Office Web Apps. These are the first ever, in-browser versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote from Microsoft. They represent a significant break with the past for a suite that's been one of Microsoft's …


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  1. Hi Wreck
    Jobs Halo

    Eating your own dog food.

    I guess microsoft is discovering the hard way all of the maddening inconsistencies in handling javascript, most of which were caused by...... microsoft. Have fun.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Wait... what?

    No search and replace? Excuse me?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Operating System/2

    Microsoft is in a similar position like IBM when they developed OS/2. Like OS2, "Windows Live Documents" (or however they call this hairball) is a half-baked attempt to fend off Google Apps.

    I tried to get it running on Firefox 3.4, but did not manage even after installing a custom plugin and restarting the browser. Google Apps just loads a javascript app and lets me do my office tasks ! No special plugins and no restarting of the browser....

    I figured that IE8 might do the trick. But - it does not even offer the ability to create/edit a MS Office document.

    If Google is really serious with their Apps they will eat MS' business like MS itself did with WNT eating IBM's OS/2 biz.

    JavaScript is continously beefed up in terms of performace (see the youtube video of Google on their Javascript efforts). Very soon JavaScript will be a high-performance language on par with at least Java and .Net.

    And if that is not enough, Google has already the Google Native Client ready, which is rock-solid technology, not the door-open-horse-bolted ActiveX crap. Native Client can run at (nearly) the speed of assembly language, if required. Program in FORTRAN, C, C++, Pascal, x86 Assembly, Java, Ruby, Python or whatever you like. The only important requirement is to align all jump targets on 32byte boundaries, which is needed to enfore an importan security assurance. Safe as JavaScript or Java Applets !

    Mr Supermonkey Balmer, please kiss goodbye to that 17billion $ Office business.

    1. dogged


      This reads like it.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      >If Google is really serious with their Apps they will eat MS' business like MS itself did with WNT eating IBM's OS/2 biz.

      If Google were serious they wouldn't be data mining the documents created therein to leverage their search/marketing business. That fundamental trumps any number of whistling bells which might otherwise tempt the corporate masses.

      Can't say I'm bowled over by the MS concept or the apparently shoddy implementation, but at least you can have control of the application and your company's data.

      >Mr Supermonkey Balmer, please kiss goodbye to that 17billion $ Office business.

      I bet he's shaking in his monkey boots....

  4. Anonymous Coward


    "But Google's document format is different, making Microsoft's online suite a better choice if you want to move documents back and forth between the cloud and the desktop."

    euh different? As in Google uses the "real" open standard odf? You can also still down and up load .docs to Google. So I think Google is more versatile in moving documents back and forth between the cloud and desktop...

    But then again the only reason you would use office web apps is because you have share point. And if you have sharepoint you have .NET and if you have .NET you have Windows. And by then Microsoft has made more then enough money on you already...

  5. Goat Jam


    "Google's document format is different, making Microsoft's online suite a better choice if you want to move documents back and forth between the cloud and the desktop."

    MS *still* don't support any open document format?

  6. Rattus Rattus

    re: "add real value to SharePoint"

    The only thing that'll add real value to Sharepoint is a flamethrower.

  7. BigRedS

    I want to see the benefit...

    But, much as I'm doing my best to not be the google fanboi that I keep getting told I'm becoming, Google docs doesn't require any plugins or runtimes, works well in every browser I've pointed it at and is perfectly capable of interacting with MSOffice by saving to, er, MSOffice file formats.

    I can sort-of see the benefit if you're already entirely MSOffice, have some fear of non-MS-products and quite like overly complex situations. But, aside from the company I work for, I can't see why anyone would pick it over Google docs on any technical grounds.

    Though the running-it-on-your-own hardware's nice, thinking about it. Saves relying on an internet connection, and removes the need to give Google all your data, which is always a good thing.

    1. idasben


      So maybe it would be good if the Reg did a comparison of Google Docs first release (the orignal release, before Google bought out all the start ups) I would imagine they were less feature filled than this.

      Also, you're right that the main people who will use this will host it internally alongside sharepoint to allow people to quickly update and edit documents from sharepoint in the browser. This is an excellent feature, and something Google will struggle to compete with as they've got an obcession with getting all your data into Google servers, not just putting Google software on your server.

      Also, with Google's new print around the world solution, will this affect Google Docs?

  8. A 31


    bah one basket, one story, one view

    got .NET ,love win7, hate office, no sharepoint

    you gotta love technologists ....

    One should take/learn what's good from wherever, rather than stick to which ever komintern party rules one only wants to knows.

    I think the cloud office will give gole some energy, and perhaps give us, the users or devlopers more choice.Bing is exactly that, again I am not saying it beats google or not, just that alternatives are a good thing !!.

  9. Miek

    Different, again.

    "But Google's document format is different, making Microsoft's online suite a better choice if you want to move documents back and forth between the cloud and the desktop. "

    Quite the opposite. as one AC has already pointed out.

    as the screen-shot in your article shows, $MS products don't even play nicely with themselves.

    I often have to open and re-save MS Office documents with Open Office just so that MS office can deal with them.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The World Wide Web

    Isn't that where you go to avoid doing word processing and working on spreadsheets?

    Honestly if Microsoft would make it so that you could install Windows and Office on < 3GB of disk space like a modern Linux and OO install as opposed to > 30GB disk space then you could fairly easily install Office on just about any device you like and not have to ass around with half baked Java apps.

    I laugh my ass off when I can hear someone's hard drive thrashing from outside their house then they ask me to come in so that I can take a look at their new Vista^W 7 install.

    "You'll have to excuse the noise *hands me ear muffs* she's busy processing"

    "That's nice, what are you running there, tetris?"

    Mind you, in addition to the impossibility of Microsoft cutting out an order of magnitude worth of bloat, there is also the impossibility of them licensing Office per user and not per machine - so that people could actually use it wherever they are without paying half a dozen licenses.

  11. Kevin Bailey

    Same old MS...

    produce crap now - promise better later.

  12. Atonnis

    Just not there yet...

    It would seem that MS's online Office implementation is just not ready for the mass market yet. Once again I'm seeing a software developer pushing out beta code as if it were an acceptable final product.

    Still, I suppose I'd rather work around the problems by using real Office as opposed to having all my documents scanned and indexed by Google's servers...

  13. Bob 18

    JavaScript Worship

    What is a "browser" app? It's nothing more than a JavaScript app that runs on the desktop and is downloaded afresh each time you run. It makes your 21st-century computer perform like back in the early 1990's. Tell me even one good reason (on a technical level) why we should be building desktop apps in JavaScript. Since when did such a brain-dead application infrastructure become the "cool new cutting-edge" thing?

    Silverlight suffers from none of these problems. Same with Java Web Start and JavaFX. I long for some "web-based" applications that run in a real platform.

  14. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    Late to the party

    Cloud stuff aside, a new laptop and El Reg's list of essential freebies got me using openoffice for the first time this week.

    It felt like coming home, it's so nice to use and it somehow displays documents more clearly than Word/Excel. How? Perhaps it's the new laptop screen, but the UI to openoffice is great. Thanks Reg for a great tip.

  15. J. Cook Silver badge

    Not bloody likely where I work...

    This won't fly at any place that values it's financial information, anything proprietary, or stuff that can not be exposed to public view for whatever reason.

    Where's the file being saved to? and how can the business be certain that no one else can look at it? These are the questions that prevent my company from using googledocs (and even going as far as blocking it at the web filter!).

    While cloud computing may be hip, any business that deals with any sort of information that is not necessarily for public consumption should look seriously at the reason why they want to do this besides to look hip.

    1. KTLA
      Paris Hilton

      Where to, you ask?

      Where's the file being saved to? Uh, how about your corporate server? Did you read the article? Sure, you can use the free SkyDocs version of this if that's your cup of tea, but enterprises will run their own Office Web Apps server internally. You might want to go read up on the Web Apps and then modify your post.

      Paris, because even her brain hurt from that question.

  16. Annakan

    nice try to lock us in DOCX

    when we are barely out of .doc hell.

    DOCX is ultimate lock in.

  17. Magnus Ramage

    Way too much space given to buttons

    You briefly mentioned this in the context of netbooks, but same goes for any 16:10/16:9 screen - that ribbon, embedded within a browser, uses way too much vertical screen space. I want to read and edit documents, not look at user interface elements for half the screen.

  18. pan2008

    Why use the cloud

    What breed of monkey wants to pay Google £50 per year to use their documents on the cloud? That's their license price correct? If you are a company why not use office which only costs around £100 and keep it for ever. Cloud is a cloud, you can't see it you can't touch it and I bet is slower than any fat client. Microsoft is only doing this to offer an alternative solution, it may well be a half baked solution but why do I care? I like my applications running on my computer.

  19. Michael Schmidt

    Paranoid thought

    Doesn't "SkyDrive" sound an awful lot like "SkyNet"?

  20. DRendar

    Uses the ribbon

    Uses the ribbon = FAIL

    My productivity has dropped massively since this god-awful UI downgrade was forced upon us in Office 2007.

    Have now installed a hack to get the old menus back, but still some stuff doesn't work right, and some of my keyboard short-cut combinations that I've taught myself over the past 17 years don't work either.

    I don't trust Micrsoft to do ANYTHING internet based correctly. Not as a web server, email server, not as a firewall or Proxy, not as a webmail provider, and certainly not for storing and editing my documents online.

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