Microsoft Announces Office 2010 Free Web Services

At Microsoft’s annual Partner Conference in New Orleans, they announced the “Technology Preview” of Office 2010. This means the new programs will be available to members of Microsoft’s partner network and developers around the world to examine, test and provide feedback. Part of the plan for Office 2010 is an online service, some of which will be free, that will allow users to work with Word and Excel in a web browser. How they will compare (and compete with) Google Docs and isn’t clear yet, but such things as simultaneous working on an Excel spreadsheet (sounds nightmarish, actually) or being able to “broadcast” a PowerPoint slide show on the fly could have some appeal.

It will be interesting to see how many people take to this. I’m not a believer yet, myself, although there are times when working with clients that I create online versions of documents so that different people can have access to comment and make changes or updates. I’m not convinced that the web is secure enough, nor that connections are generally speedy enough, for so-called “cloud computing” to become the norm. Documents are like young kids: I just feel more comfortable when I know where they are.

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