Since the announcement of the upcoming Microsoft Office Web Applications at this year’s PDC, there has been a lot of excitement about this new service which will allow for creating, editing, collaborating, and sharing documents using the web. However, as I’ve followed the blog posts about this topic, I’ve also come across quite a bit of misinformation about the web apps, too. In an attempt to dispel some of the rumors out there, I’ve created this special Q&A which will hopefully answer some of your burning questions about the new web applications.
Q: Do the Office Web Applications require Internet Explorer?
A: No! Office Web applications will work across multiple platforms and browsers including Safari and Firefox, too.
Q: Will the Office Web Applications work on the iPhone?
A: Yes, in the Safari web browser.
Q : Is Silverlight required in order to use the Office Web Applications?
A: No! Silverlight is not required. Using Silverlight will enhance the user experience, resulting in sharper images and improved rendering. Also, the Office Live Workspace has integrated Silverlight technology into the multi-file upload function for a better experience there, too.
Q: Will the Microsoft Office Web Applications work on Linux?
A: Yes! It does not matter which operating system is used as long as you're running a supported web browser.
Q: Are the Web Applications replacing Microsoft Office software?
A: No. This does not change the way customers buy Office nor will it slowdown the future innovations coming to the desktop software.
Q: Will the Microsoft Office Web Applications be free?
A: We don't know for sure yet, but Microsoft will deliver Office Web applications to consumers through Office Live, which is a consumer service with both ad-funded and subscription offerings. That seems to imply a free (ad-supported) and paid (subscription) offering will be available.
Q: Will the Microsoft Office Web Applications be made available to business users, too?
A: Yes. For business customers, Microsoft will offer Office Web applications as a hosted subscription service and through existing volume licensing agreements. Pricing has not been released yet on this.
Q: Will educational institutions get the apps for free?
A: Yes. Students will get Office Web applications through Office Live Workspace and universities will get it through the free Live@edu service.
Q: When will Microsoft Office Web Applications be available?
A: A private technology preview of the Office Web applications will debut 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.
Q: How does the collaboration feature work?
A: Collaboration will be done using Office Live Workspace. There are two scenarios here, one experience is similar to SharePoint, where a user makes a change to a document and then uploads or saves to the SharePoint site. Whoever opens the doc first has control of that document.
The second scenario is using Microsoft SharedView, which is integrated with Office Live Workspace and enables real-time collaboration. With Microsoft SharedView, you can share your desktop and edit documents with others in real time. While sharing your desktop, Microsoft SharedView, enables you to control who edits, makes comments, etc. and then save that document back to your Office Live Workspace.