REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 9, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced Microsoft® Office Online, a new offering of its flagship Office product that will enable the delivery of Office 2000 over the Internet. Office Online will provide a choice for Office customers who prefer the benefits of centrally managed software and will be offered to small-business customers through Microsoft’s bCentral Web services portal. As part of an Office Online pilot program, leading partners also announced Office Online service offerings today, including British Telecommunications PLC; CenterBeam Inc.; Concentric Network; Digex Inc.; Equant; FutureLink Corp.; Interland Inc.; Interliant Inc.; Micron Electronics; MTT Mpowered, a division of Aliant; Qwest Communications International Inc.; TeleComputing Inc.; USinternetworking Inc.; Verio Inc.; and Winstar Communications Inc. Several of these offerings are available today and others will be introduced over the upcoming months.
“We are moving into the next wave of the Web where software and services are delivered together, and we are excited to offer Office 2000 to our customers in this new way,”
said Steven Sinofsky, vice president of Microsoft Office.
“Providing productivity applications along with services over the Internet is a new opportunity for industry partners, and Office Online will offer new solutions for our customers. With Office Online, we believe the world’s leading desktop productivity suite will contribute to the growth of this emerging industry.”
Office Online users will enjoy the same benefits of the traditional desktop version of Office and other upcoming new Web services. With over 100 million licenses sold to date, Office delivers industry-leading value to a diverse set of customers using a variety of hardware devices ranging from Windows® CE-based Palm-size PC devices to enterprise servers. Office Online builds upon this heritage by providing a centrally managed solution for customers while leveraging existing training and infrastructure. This solution may appeal to certain customers, such as users at branch offices who lack onsite IT support, and small and medium-sized businesses that find application outsourcing more cost-effective and want to access the latest technology. While the vast majority of customers will continue to reap the productivity benefits of Office by installing it locally on a standard PC, over the next few years, Office Online will empower users with certain computing needs with a new option for accessing Office applications and services through a high-speed Internet connection.
“Office Online is breaking new ground in the application services market area and will take our current service offerings to the next level,”
said Michael Gale, chief Web officer, Micron.
“We currently provide a range of services from hardware to Internet connectivity to e-commerce, and Office Online will help strengthen our relationship with customers as we will offer the premier desktop productivity suite that millions of customers rely on every day to do their work.”
New Offering Builds Upon Leading Technology
Office Online will deliver the complete Office 2000 suite to a range of clients running Windows and Windows CE operating systems using Windows NT® or Windows 2000’s Terminal Services. This hosting solution has the ability to deliver the complete Windows experience and application functionality through terminal emulation. Since the release of Office 97, corporations have deployed Office via the Windows Terminal Server over corporate or private networks. With Office Online, customers can now access their Windows-based desktop and Office applications by simply connecting to a Windows Terminal Server running Office 2000 using an Internet connection. Office 2000 has been specially tuned for running in a hosted environment, adjusting dynamically and providing optimal performance for the online user. Office Online will offer familiar, industry-leading Office applications including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, the Microsoft PowerPoint® presentation graphics program, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Publisher, the Microsoft FrontPage® Web site creation and management tool and the Microsoft Outlook® messaging and collaboration client.
Office Online offers users a complete set of services including the ability to save Office settings and access their customized version of Office from a range of devices. With Office Online, it’s also possible to provide users with other services, including document storage, Web hosting and Office Server Extensions, which enable users to streamline workgroup collaboration and save documents to the Web. Service providers will deliver highly customized Office-based solutions as well as enable customers to get instant updates and service releases, and provide customers with the opportunity to pay for services on a monthly basis.
“As a private investment firm, we’re working with TeleComputing because we want to focus on our business, without having to deploy and manage the computing infrastructure,”
said Steve Fragapane of Sterling Capital Limited, a holding company for Sterling Learning Systems.
“The new Office Online service means that our employees and client organizations can use the industry-standard desktop productivity suite they already know and automatically receive the latest product updates. We’re excited that Microsoft is delivering yet another way for Sterling Capital to use Office applications.”
Broad Industry Support for Office Online
Office Online will be offered by Microsoft bCentral Web services, a portal created specifically to meet the needs of small and growing companies. bCentral provides a comprehensive and integrated suite of services to help growing companies use the Internet to improve their business. The site delivers services in three key areas: getting a business started online by connecting to the Web and building a Web site, promoting and marketing online to reach new customers, and managing a business more effectively. The bCentral Office Online offering will be focused on small businesses that want the full functionality of Office but would like to outsource technology and utilize new service opportunities. The Office Online offering will be available from Microsoft by the end of this year with broad availability next year.
As part of the pilot program, Microsoft and industry partners, including industry-leading Internet service providers, application service providers, telecommunications providers and original equipment manufacturers, are developing an expertise in the technology requirements and an understanding of the customer needs for this new service model. Partners will primarily target small to medium-sized businesses and build on existing services including Internet access, Web site hosting, data storage, networking management and customer hardware and support. Many of the Office Online partners will also offer Microsoft Exchange, in addition to Microsoft Office, as a foundation for their knowledge-worker solution. Partners will set their own pricing and availability timelines.
“Our customers want a complete communications and collaboration solution. We will meet this need by offering Office Online, Office Server Extensions and Exchange in addition to our traditional service offerings,”
said Lew Wilks, president of Internet and Multimedia Markets for Qwest.
“We look forward to working closely with Microsoft to drive the application services market forward and provide new solutions for customers.”
“We’re excited to be able to offer Office Online to our customers as part of a larger service offering that will also include Internet, data and voice services,”
said William J. Rouhana Jr., chairman and CEO, Winstar.
“The opportunity to offer the Office 2000 applications enhances our business model and allows us to provide highly desired, new services to our customers.”
For more information on this announcement and links to partner press releases, visit http://www.microsoft.com/office/ .
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