Microsoft conceived of Office Live Workspace, a free web-based extension of Microsoft Office, as a way to counter the easy document sharing selling point of the various Web office app vendors and started a public beta last December. Today Microsoft announced that the beta is now available worldwide albeit only in the English language.
There’s a nice feature comparison of Office Live Workspace with Google Docs at Read Write Web, but in checking out the bells and whistles, don’t overlook the key differentiator: “Files can’t be edited from within Workspace, but clicking on “edit” will open them up in Microsoft Office (of course).” For better or worse, Office Live Workspace is not a Web app for editing and creating office documents – it’s a free document sharing service for purchasers of Microsoft Office.
As I have observed previously, Office Live Workspace is a reasonable way for Microsoft to try to keep Office users on the reservation. The question is whether it is enough.