Today at PDC, Microsoft announced that the next version of Microsoft Office will be available as browser-based tools in addition to being desktop software products, too. The online apps will include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote and they will run in the browser thanks to the Silverlight plugin. Plans are to support Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.
The group of these online apps will be called “Office Web Applications” and they will be made available via the Office Live Service and as part of the Office Suite. Businesses will have the option to run the hosted apps by means of a subscription service. Volume licensing for larger businesses will also be offered.
The Office Web Applications are lightweight versions of the robust desktop software programs known collectively as Microsoft Office. However, you can rest assured that you no longer have to choose between rich functionality or a web application. Office Web Apps aren’t “dumbed down” suites, but real alternatives to desktop software. See a first look at the suite on Channel 9 now.