LOS ANGELES, Oct. 28, 2008 — As part of a strategic companywide shift toward embracing web-based solutions, Microsoft today announced plans to deliver Office Web applications – lightweight versions of Office – through web browsers.
Viewing OneNote notes in OneNote Web application.
At the Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles, where the announcement was made, PressPass spoke with Chris Capossela, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Business Division. We asked him how Office Web applications complement Office, and what this will mean for people who use Office applications.
PressPass: What are you announcing today?
Capossela: As part of the next release of Office, we’re announcing that Microsoft will deliver Office Web applications – lightweight versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote – through a browser. With these new applications, people can use a browser to create, edit, and collaborate on Office documents. What’s great is that this provides a consistent Office experience when and where our customers want it, regardless of whether they are accessing their Office documents through the PC, phone, or browser.
PressPass: What does this announcement mean for Microsoft?
Capossela: We are on a path to deliver all our technology as “software plus services,” and today is an important milestone in this journey. For more than 10 years, millions of workers have benefited from Microsoft cloud-based services, including Hosted Exchange, Outlook Web Access and Live Meeting. Earlier this year, we announced Microsoft Online, which businesses such as Coca-Cola Enterprises, Blockbuster, and Energizer are using to access Exchange and SharePoint over the Web. Last month, more than 1 million people turned to Office Live Workspace for sharing and collaborating over the Internet.
Viewing a Word document in Word Web application.
Today in Los Angeles, we raised the stakes with Office Web applications. With this development, people can benefit from Office as a service on their browser, as a downloadable application on their phone, and as software on their PCs. This is the kind of flexibility that our software plus services approach makes possible, and is helping us deliver the kind of innovation that businesses and consumers expect from Microsoft.
PressPass: How will the Office Web applications benefit customers?
Capossela: Customers’ requirements have changed, as have their expectations of technology. While Office is synonymous with desktop productivity, the idea of “desktop” has
changed from a PC-centric notion to one in which people are empowered on the PC, on the phone, and with a browser.
Our customers don’t use one device, but rather several. They want a seamless, synchronized experience across those devices to help them work smarter, faster, and better. Office Web applications will make that a reality.
PressPass: How will people receive Office Web applications?
Editing OneNote notes in OneNote Web application.
Capossela: We will deliver Office Web applications to consumers through Office Live, which is a consumer service with both ad-funded and subscription offerings. For business customers, we will offer Office Web applications as a hosted subscription service and through existing volume licensing agreements.
We will show a private technology preview of the Office Web applications later this year. For more information about this and other details about the Office Web applications, people can sign up for Office Live Workspace at workspace.officelive.com.
PressPass: Why is Microsoft doing this?
Capossela: We are deeply committed to offering our customers the technology they need to succeed. To that end, we’re investing in software plus services for the long term, something that sets us apart from our competitors. Office Web applications complement the Office suite and Office Mobile applications and enable our customers to share and collaborate more effectively through the familiar Office experience.
Editing a Word document in Word Web application.
We know our customers use their PC, phone, and browser in different situations depending on their needs. The browser is particularly important when you need to access and edit files while traveling, working remotely, or using someone else’s PC. Together, these new tools enable new styles of community-based collaboration where multiple people can contribute simultaneously to various work through the internet.
PressPass: Will your partners be able to take advantage of the shift to Web-based solutions?
Capossela: Over the years, thousands of partners have sold Microsoft Office to millions of customers worldwide. The opportunities for our partners will increase as we continue to innovate with Microsoft Office. This announcement does not change the way customers buy Office. The biggest opportunity for OEM and retail partners continues to be selling Office to help their customers get better results faster.
When available with the next version of Microsoft Office, Office Web applications will increase the opportunity for OEM and retail partners as they extend the value of Microsoft
Office to the Web, thereby addressing the full range of their customers’ needs.
PressPass: Why are you making this announcement today at PDC?
Capossela: At this event, Microsoft has shared how we will deliver a platform strategy for both the Web and desktop, so it makes sense to talk about how we also are extending our productivity tools in new ways. Office Web applications underscore our companywide focus on software plus services, which reaches from the backend with our platform, through to the front end with our flagship productivity tools.