Microsoft is planning an Office party on Monday

Microsoft is planning to announce Office Web Applications and the Office 2010 beta at the company's annual Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans next Monday.

Neowin hinted at the announcements yesterday but insider sources have confirmed that the company will be demonstrating the delayed Office Web Applications and announcing its plans for the Office 2010 beta.

Office Web Applications

Microsoft officials originally announced the applications at the company's Professional Developers Conference back in October 2008. At the time the main focus was on Windows 7 and no-one was able to use the applications themselves so they were somewhat overlooked.

Office Web Applications are part of Microsoft's "software plus services" initiative where the company plans to deliver all its technology in this way. As part of the next release of Office, Microsoft are planning Office Web applications - lightweight versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote - through a browser. Running these new applications will allow individuals to use a browser to create, edit, and share Office documents wherever they are. Microsoft wants to provide a consistent Office experience, regardless of whether users are accessing their Office documents through the PC, phone, or browser.

The idea is simple, you edit a document at home it syncs to the cloud which allows you to edit the document from another PC, via a browser or using your Windows Phone. Microsoft plans to offer this to consumers by Office Live with ad-funded and subscription offerings. For business customers, Microsoft will be offering Office Web applications as a hosted subscription service.

Why is this big?

It's big in a number of different ways. Microsoft has been planning software plus services for its applications and operating system for a number of years. Officials have hinted at the vision since as far back as 2000. Microsoft originally had plans, together with then CEO Bill Gates, that an operating system codenamed Blackcomb would be a major Windows release with a full Web orientated user experience and integration with various Web services. Unfortunately for Microsoft the internet moved on more quickly than many had anticipated. Microsoft began work on Whistler which became XP and then on to Longhorn which became Vista. Microsoft was ambitious with its plans for Longhorn but ultimately failed in bringing them to life. Flash forward to 2009 and Google is #1 for search and has revealed it will release an operating system next year. Microsoft is nearly finished with Windows 7 and everyone agrees it's a great improvement on Windows Vista. Who knows what the company is planning for Windows 8 but for now cloud computing is the focus for applications instead of whole operating systems at Microsoft.

Google currently has a web offering named Google Docs. It's simple and lightweight but that's part of its problem. Businesses have been trialling Google's offerings but for many they are too basic. Microsoft's offerings are the total opposite. Office Web Applications will run fully in a browser offering an identical experience to running Office applications on the desktop. If Microsoft gets this right and targets it at the right price then it could quickly kill off the increasing competition from Google Docs.

Office 2010

Microsoft began a marketing campaign for its next version of Office earlier this year, shortly after screen shots began to emerge of Office 2010. Not long after the campaign began an early technical preview build leaked onto the Internet for all to see. Microsoft promised originally that the technical preview would arrive in July and up until now they have been relatively quiet about when in July.

Microsoft will be releasing a Office 2010 beta on Monday to a private beta group along with the Office Web Applications announcements. Microsoft posted another teaser for Office 2010 on it's "Office 2010, the movie" site today. We believe the beta won't be too different to the one leaked earlier this year.

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Office Web Applications will run fully in a browser offering an identical experience to running Office applications on the desktop.

Oh, I'm not so sure, at least not from these online screenshots. :/

The ribbon bar don't seem to offer even as much as Google Docs, to be honest. Table support/styling, and more?

Hopefully it's just because it's preview software, but there are no indications of it leaping ahead of Google Docs, besides perhaps a *prettier* interface.

I was relieved that they didn't use Comic Sans in the video!

On a more serious comment, I hope they bring out the Betas soon to start testing the new web apps because they look very promising, One Note specially. At least for me.

Office Web Applications will run fully in a browser offering an identical experience to running Office applications on the desktop
Ummm, no. It will be decades before the browser experience matches the desktop experience (though they may become on in the same one day). Web applications have some great advantages, but let's not pretend that it's the same as running a desktop app, 'cause that just don't jive.

Maybe not, but...

If you've got a netbook with a 64GB SSD, your storage "real estate" is at a premium. If this allows you to edit your documents without an Office install, that's significant right there.

ChrisJ1968 said,
Talk about nerds... you are all bona fide techno nerds!


...you do know that this is a tech site right?

And while he might be in his late teens or early 20s, that mother****er when 30-40 will problably be alot richer than you while you live in a trailer park drinking beers all day (The truth)

Any guesses on this: whether Office 2010 beta, would be a limited one, or a public beta similar to Windows 7?
As per what I have read is, its a limited one.

Um, why did they spend a FORTUNE on an irrelevant ad?! I mean, at least, if you're going to go with Office 2010 the Movie, you might want to have the occasional screenshot of the PRODUCT being used to help solve the missions...ffs, what a complete waste of money and time...

excalpius said,
Um, why did they spend a FORTUNE on an irrelevant ad?! I mean, at least, if you're going to go with Office 2010 the Movie, you might want to have the occasional screenshot of the PRODUCT being used to help solve the missions...ffs, what a complete waste of money and time...


Because it's funny, innovative, fits the new image Microsoft is going for and now they got lots and lots of people talking about how great it is and that it's isn't another cheap 'Buy our products'-advertisement.

That might as well be consider one of the best IT adverts of all time. Maybe Apple should take notes on how to properly promote new products without being idiotic and childish.

Everyone pirates Office anyway, or get it cheap or free with their OEM PC or from work or college. So who's going to use the online version... and for WHAT?

toadeater said,
Everyone pirates Office anyway, or get it cheap or free with their OEM PC or from work or college. So who's going to use the online version... and for WHAT?

If you are traveling and do not have your notebook/laptop, you could use the online version to open an excel, word, etc document that was sent to you, modify it and then email it back on a public/family/friends, computer.

Hmm, I'm not sure I would be willing to pay to use a web version of office when Windows live sync is free so I can easily sync my documents across the computers I want to.

If I read this correctly, the web version would allow any subscriber to edit any of their online documents from ANY computer, whether it had Office installed or not (Firefox? Linux?)

They've removed/reshaped the 'orb' menu from Office 2010, but kept it in the web version? You think they would have made them consistent...

I agree with the need for consistency. However, those were old screenshots...I'm almost 100% positive they'll iron out those UI element inconsistency before final release. Personally I like the Orb better but I think Microsoft may have found that too many people were slow to discover it.

They already have Office Live. However, early this year they announced they were merging Office Live with Windows Live. I'm not sure what that exactly means. Whatever happens, I think these Office Web Apps will be Live Mesh apps that can be launced from several other web locations (ex. Office Live, Live SkyDrive, Live Hotmail, etc)...thats just my guess.

Fantastic trailer. I'm looking forward to Office Web Apps...especially on a netbook. I use Office Workspace alot, so it would be great if this was somehow integrated with that. As a side note, I wonder if Microsoft has recently acquired the Office.com domain (seems to be in a transition).

Office 2003 has customizable toolbar buttons.
Office 2007 removed customizability.
Office 2010 adds back customizing buttons.
Question: Why did we pay for Office 2007 and pay again for functionality that got removed and added back?

Maybe the buttons got lost in the transition from menus to ribbon. Just for an example, this is mostly noticeable with AutoCAD 2010 where lots of commands are missing from the ribbon.

xpclient said,
Office 2003 has customizable toolbar buttons.
Office 2007 removed customizability.
Office 2010 adds back customizing buttons.
Question: Why did we pay for Office 2007 and pay again for functionality that got removed and added back?

Quite simply: because software development does not not have unlimited time, unlimited budgets and unlimited resources.

GP007 said,
I love the way the ribbon works in 2k7, why would I want to start moving things around?

You may not want to, but if you were ever a part of an IT department that transitioned users from '03 to '07, you'd know that customizeable ribbons is one of the most requested features...and frankly it would make the transition a lot more pleasant as it would keep the 'squeaky wheels' quiet.

The Burning Rom said,
You may not want to, but if you were ever a part of an IT department that transitioned users from '03 to '07, you'd know that customizeable ribbons is one of the most requested features...and frankly it would make the transition a lot more pleasant as it would keep the 'squeaky wheels' quiet.


I get that, but I figure MS would first want people to get a better feel for the Ribbon as is before they let you start changing things and maybe making it more complicated.

Great new advertising idea, been playing with office 2010 tech preview and it was great except for a bug in sending mails through my smtp server, forcing me to go back to 2007. I love the way MS is moving forward, and although I don't agree with alll the concepts of cloud computing, auto synchronsation of files across my multiple systems, is a great and useful idea. I wish I could do this now though, never mind online, but via my home network. Or can this be done in Windows 7???

So we are basically getting Office 2007 R2 and a really crappy web application that looks a bit behind the competition. Great. What happened to their ultimate browser? Oh well...

GP007 said,
Funny, the idea of a font that could mess with you and so on, nice idea imo.

So now MS Fonts can have viruses too, eh?

rhz said,
lol that movie, awesome

Only at neowin would people get excited about an office trailer.

Lets hope they finally fixed the bug in excel where if I past content, then to a text to columns, then paste in some other content it forces the text to columns again, even thought I don't want it. Why would they ever implement this stupid behaviour, just so that I don't have to chose the menu option again? What if I don't want it to do that???? I can't switch if off easily, why would the do that.

So less money on ads, more money on getting rid of bugs would be great!!!

And does anyone even have a reason to upgrade, not like I ever thought that office was missing any big feature.