The next version of Microsoft Office... free?

Okay, not entirely free (else there would be a squadron of pigs, not a helicopter, bothering me this afternoon). However, Microsoft is fighting back against GoogleDocs and to a degree,, in an attempt to make sure they are not locked out of the Web in terms of Office software. The Web version of Office will be freely available, with certain restrictions and like Google (though probably more annoyingly so), ad-supported. There also appears to be the standard amount of bad clip-art and stock photography involved.

Revamped Microsoft Office Will Be Free on the Web

Microsoft Office Live beta

What this means for many people is that there will now be an “official” way to interface with Word-bound colleagues that does not require a huge dent in the bank account. It remains to be seen how effective it will be. Unofficial routes may still end up being less hassle.

I’m still waiting for their server to send me a verification e-mail, so if anyone else had actually tried the beta I’d love to hear how it is, compared to GoogleDocs, which is in general too annoying to use.

One day a week McDonald’s give away their pre-chewed panini for 1 euro. This does not mean I will feel the need to go have one :slight_smile:

I wonder if it is still really necessary to have a copy of Word to be compatibility with Word. From another point of view: is it really difficult to convince our colleagues to switch to OpenOffice (I could do with the company I deal with more often, not for the others).


Yeah and you have to use either Internet Explorer or Firefox to download and use, not Safari. Subtle hint, eh? :unamused:

IIRC, many people got Office 2008 for free or for $30 thanks to a couple of Microsoft promotions. I hope they do the same when the next version is released. I missed one of the promotions, so I paid around $120 for my copy (Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Edition). I thought it was a very decent price for 5 applications that I use regularly. I kept Office 2004 for VBA, though.

But the Web version will undoubtedly have only part of the features the commercial version has. For many this will be enough, but for some not.

For many writers, it probably is. Some of us, however, have become wonderfully Word-averse and generally MS-free. 'Twasn’t always thus, but for the few editors with whom I still work, jpegs and rtf files are fine.