Microsoft has a fundamental problem competing with the online office application offerings like Google Docs in that they want to avoid cannibalizing their considerable Microsoft Office revenues. Therefore they have to try to emulate the desirable features of the online offerings while still requiring that the users have a fully paid up copy of Microsoft Office. That’s just what they did today when they announced “Microsoft Office Live Workspace, a new Web-based feature of Microsoft Office that lets people access their documents online and share their work with others.”
Available at no charge, the beta (preregister up for the English language version at http://www.officelive.com/) of Microsoft Office Live Workspace offers:
None of these are remarkably novel features since all are available in one form or another from other vendors, but it does indicate that Microsoft takes the nascent threat of Web office apps seriously. The competitive Web office apps give up functionality to provide low cost, ubiquity, and simplified sharing and Microsoft has tried to blunt the two of those three that they can.
Additionally, Microsoft also laid out the nomenclature for the business Web services they will be offering to their customers:
Everyone loves a taxonomy, but the announcement is still touting Microsoft Dynamics Live CRM which would seem to really be “Online” and not “Live.” That’s OK, we still get the idea.