updated 11:10 am EDT, Mon July 13, 2009
MS Office Web and 2010
Microsoft today used its Windows Partners Conference to expand the details of Office 2010, including its web version. Initially considered separate, Microsoft now says Office Web is a counterpart to 2010 but will make it freely available to anyone with a Windows Live account. It will also be free to use on the local network for companies that buy volume licenses of Office 2010, though companies that just want the web app component will also have the option of a subscription.
As previewed in the past will be "lightweight" versions of Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Word but will preserve formatting. The apps won't be limited to Internet Explorer and Windows and should represent one of the few times that an Office release is concurrent on all platforms.
The offline version has now been renamed to Office 2010 and will represent a significant update but less dramatic than Office 2007. It has a reworked version of the "ribbon" interface that incorporates some menus as well as a new opening screen that simplifies getting to recent documents. Individual apps have also received specific updates. More than one user can now co-author a OneNote, PowerPoint or Word document; Outlook has also received improved calendaring and e-mail, including the option to ignore irrelevant conversations. PowerPoint now offers basic built-in image and video editing as well as a broadcast option.
Both Office 2010 and its web element will be available sometime in the first half of next year. A technical preview is available now through an invitation process. Office 2010 is Windows-only but is unofficially assumed to indicate the direction of future Mac versions, which often follow one year later.
Office web apps (Word shown)
Office 2010 (images via SuperSite for Windows)