Office Web: better late than never?

In Wednesday's IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches bloggers watch more cloudiness from PDC: Microsoft Office Web, expected in a year. Not to mention Y2K peas, please...

Eric Lai reports:

Chris Caposella (source: Microsoft)
After teasing the market multiple times, Microsoft Corp. ... [is] bringing its most money-making desktop software franchise online and to smart phones. Microsoft will release lightweight versions of four components of its Microsoft Office suite for the Web and Windows Mobile smart phones ... Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. They will become available when the next version of Office, code-named "Office 14," arrives late next year.
Business customers seeking "more manageability and control" will be able to buy subscriptions to Office Web similar to the subscription Microsoft offers for a bundle combining Web-based versions of Exchange and SharePoint. That costs $3 per user per month ... exact pricing won't be available for a while.
Enterprises may also get Office Web through conventional volume licensing software contracts, which will allow them to either install Office on desktop and other client PCs, or have Microsoft host it on their servers.

Benjamin J. Romano adds:

Google beat Microsoft to the market for online productivity products with its Google Docs and Spreadsheets offering, which Microsoft has dismissed as too short on features to be a real competitor to its dominant Office products, which have some 500 million users globally and contribute to the Microsoft Business Division's $18.9 billion in fiscal 2008 revenue (more than 31 percent of the company's total).

But Microsoft clearly sees the niche Google has filled and appears unwilling to cede it to the Internet search giant. Microsoft hopes the offering will also cut down on piracy of Office.
The company gave few details on its schedule for bringing online Office to market, other than a planned technology preview -- limited to a select group -- by the end of the year.

Ed Oswald can't wait:

It’s about time, don’t you think?
This should not be confused with Microsoft’s two other “Office” web products, which are Office Online, Microsoft’s clipart and template website, and Office Live Workspace, a suite of business-centric productivity applications. Instead, these are actual web-based versions of Office programs ... The new web applications would be available through the Office Live product, which makes a lot of sense (and leads one to ask why this wasn’t done in the first place).
Indeed, “software plus services” has become a major part of Microsoft strategy for dealing with Web 2.0 and beyond. The company seems to disagree with the notion that all software is moving from desktop-based to Web-based, instead arguing that customers want the option of both.

Michael Arrington misuses a mass noun:

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sent an email to customers today ... The email reiterates Microsoft’s core messaging that the Internet is fine, but it needs a little desktop software to really make it hum.
Client software is needed, he argues, to take full advantage of the hardware on devices. Multicore processors and new programming languages will expand computing capabilities ... software does the heavy lifting, and the browser makes access and communication easy.
Microsoft also has a huge stake in software, since it powers more than 100% of their profits. If he’s betting correctly, Microsoft can dominate another generation of computing. If not, Google eats their lunch. Or maybe Google is thinking the same way…as they expand the functionality of Gears ever further, Google is also saying they need a direct tie to the hardware on a PC to really make their services sing.

John Brandon invents a verb:

With announcements this week, Microsoft has ... lame ducked their very own products. Would anyone really buy Windows Vista, or do a mass deployment of it in the enterprise, now that we know Windows 7 is essentially the same thing -- and I mean, the interface looks indistinguishable to me -- with a leaner code base and better driver support? I doubt it.

And don't even get me started on Office 14, announced this week as well. It's the browser-enabled version of the massively dominate productivity suite. Honestly, if I was a data center manager or an IT guru at, say, Wal-Mart, I'd be curled up in a corner right now, trying really hard not to think about deployment strategies.
I think the best strategy this week is to put on a Halloween mask and go hide under a rock somewhere.

We love Henry Blodget really:

Microsoft's Office franchise is still going great guns ... Microsoft's Business Division, which is 90% Office, grew a startling 20% year over year last quarter from a $4 billion base. Why? Ongoing adoption of Office 2007 and helpful FOREX movements. The strength came from both businesses and, importantly, consumers.
We primarily use Google Apps as our office productivity program. This isn't because we hate Microsoft: It's because Google Apps is more convenient. We do HAVE Office, however, and we still use it occasionally (such as when we read the Microsoft Corporation 10Q, which is the only 10Q we know of that comes formatted as a Word document).

And finally...

Buffer overflow:

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 23 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email:

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

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