MICROSOFT UNLEASHES OFFICE WEB APPS

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MIXED START TO LIFE FOR THE BROWSER-BASED EDITION OF MICROSOFT OFFICE 2010

Microsoft has released an early technical preview of its Office Web Apps — although half the applications are still completely unusable. The browser-based versions of Word, OneNote, Excel and PowerPoint are due for release with the desktop software in the first half of next year, although only the latter two are working in the technical preview currently open to invitees only. Of those, Excel is by far the most impressive. The online app coped well with the intricate formulae and conditional formatting used in our Labs feature tables — something that rival Google Spreadsheet certainly couldn't boast. Changes made to the data were reflected in dependent fields with a delay of only a half-second or so. Although the online apps use the same Ribbon interface as the desktop software, they currently contain a fraction of the features. Only the Home and Insert tabs are present in Excel, for example, and a number of the features from even those two tabs are omitted.

Microsoft has long stated that there won't be feature parity between the desktop and online apps, but claims we can expect to see more features added as the service progresses towards a full public beta before the end of the year. The company has confirmed that Web Apps will be free of charge to consumers and small business, with 25GB of storage provided via Microsoft's SkyDrive. However, business customers who wish to run Web Apps via their SharePoint Server or as a hosted Microsoft service could face charges. "There may be some licences where it's included in the price, and others where there's an incremental rharge," Microsoft's Office Live product manager, Tim Kimber, told PC Pro.

Source of Information : PC Pro December 2009

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