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Microsoft’s Office Web Apps Not Ready Yet

Its lightweight Office Web versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote are coming but are not here yet

This morning at its Worldwide Partner Conference Microsoft was only prepared to say that its lightweight Office Web versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote are coming but are not here yet. They will reportedly be available to select testers in August.

When they will be available period is still a mystery. Microsoft only says that Office 2010 and "related products" will be available in the first half of next year. There's been a rumor Office 2010 would be out with Windows 7 in October.

Microsoft did say that when Office Web apps get here they will be available in three ways: free to 400 million consumers through Windows Live; on-premises to all Office volume licensees including the 90 million or so Office annuity customers; and as a paid subscription hosted by Microsoft Online Services.

Microsoft didn't say how much the subscription would cost or what the differences between the free apps and the subscription apps would be.

It promised that the Office Web apps would "provide access to documents from virtually anywhere and preserve the look and feel of a document regardless of device."

Meanwhile, the "boxed" version of Office 2010 has gone into technical preview for testing by a select group of "tens of thousands." Apparently all attendees of the conference will be invited. Ditto Visio 2010.

Microsoft said it would reduce the number of Office editions from eight to five and that each would have additional applications and features.

Of the myriad web-based productivity apps currently on offer, the only ones that matter are Google's and Zoho's.

Zoho claims 1.8 million users. Some of them may be paid.

Google claims 1.75 million companies are using Google Apps, but it's unclear whether they all pay Google's annual price of $50 a seat. It's unclear how many people use the free versions of the widgetry.

Google ripped the beta labels off Gmail, Google Docs, Google calendar and Google Talk last week, explaining that they communicated "not yet ready for prime time" to business accounts and were limiting their adoption.

Evidently Google was anticipating a more substantive move by Microsoft.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at) or paperboy(at), and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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