After a variety of online rumors that June 2010 would be the ship date for Office 2010, a Microsoft spokesman has confirmed the date to Betanews. Less clear however, was what Office features will be included in the free Web version, Office Web Applications:
"The key to what will and what won’t be in the Web Apps is really based on customer feedback and usage scenarios," "Microsoft communications senior director Janice] Kapner told us. "So if you think about it, we have 500 million users, we talk to them a lot about what it is they do and don’t do, and will and won’t do. This is our first shipment of the Web Apps, but we’ve been very realistic about how we think people will use these things, and try to supply features and functionality that will support those usage scenarios." As an example, Kapner cited a case of remote users being able to check the progress of a PowerPoint presentation being constructed by the team at home, via a Web browser on a PC or mobile phone.
That continues to suggest that Office Web Apps, while free for use by the general public, will not be intended for creative purposes above and beyond basic, simple documents. In fact, Microsoft now appears to be busy constructing legitimate use-case scenarios for preferring Office 2010 over Office Web Apps.
Or rephrased, Microsoft is busy trying to figure out how much they can reasonably cripple the Office Web Applications so as not to roast their Office cash cow. Do not confuse the free version with the business versions of Office Web Applications that are not free and require a SharePoint server on the backend.