In a further step into its Software + Services realm, Microsoft announced yesterday at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2008 that as part of the next version of Office, currently called Office 14, it will deliver lightweight versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote via a browser. Users will be able to use these web applications to create, edit and collaborate on documents through their PC, phone, or browser in a seamless and consistent experience.
In a press release, Chris Capossela, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Business Division said, "We know our customers use their PC, phone, and browser in different situations depending on their needs. The browser is particularly important when you need to access and edit files while traveling, working remotely, or using someone else’s PC. Together, these new tools enable new styles of community-based collaboration where multiple people can contribute simultaneously to various work through the internet."
The Office web applications will be available to individuals through Office Live, and to business customers via a hosted subscription service. Microsoft will release a private Technical Preview of Office web applications later this year. Customers who want to learn more about the upcoming beta availability can sign up for Microsoft Office Live Workspace at http://www.workspace.officelive.com.
You can check out some screenshots of the Office web applications experience on Paul Thurrott's Windows Supersite.