Microsoft is firing all guns on competitors such as Google by introducing Office Web, an online version of Microsoft’s Office suite that will be available free on the Web.
Much of what is in the technical preview of Office 2010 is not a shocker, given that a test version of the software leaked onto the Web as well as their own USENET newsgroups earlier this year.
Microsoft is also simplifying the number of different Office bundles it sells. There will be three consumer versions:
- Office Home and Student comes with OneNote, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
- Office Home and Business adds Outlook to the mix
- Office Professional includes all that, plus the Access database and Publisher page-layout programs.
Microsoft on Monday announced plans to begin widespread testing of a new version of its market-leading productivity suite for Windows PCs that will tie into a series of new Web-based Office applications similar to those offered by rival Google. This testing will be done by beta invites to online users, including interested subscribers in Microsoft newsgroups related to Office.
Microsoft will offer for free to consumers Web-based versions of its Office suite of programs, including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software and a note-taking program. The company hopes to make money by using the free software to lead users to its ad-supported websites, including Bing.
Microsoft will release the web offerings when it starts selling Office 2010, it next major release of the product, sometime in the first half of next year. Its current version came out in January 2007.