Office in a browser available now

So for all you browser lovers, seems office is available right now in a browser.

Please leave a comment detailing the compelling real world business advantages of this over using a rich client and saving to a shared resource.

Frankly I think netbooks and virtualisation make the rush to the browser a bit 1970’s don’t you?

I can run Ubuntu on a USB drive, or a million and one live disties via CD that make no changes to the host PC. Or I can run a range of different VMs each optimised for particular activities. Why would I want to use a browser?

Is the claimed simplified central management worth the clumsy interface?

I am sure some people will find it useful, of course. I just wish the media (and others) would give a bit more attention to the real world. I’m getting a bit jaded about all this cloud fluff following the PDC. There is still plenty of life in rich client desktop apps, especially for actual _work_. Not just talking (or IM’ing) about it, or collaborating about it, but actually producing something of commercial relevance to your employer.

When we take the dog for a walk she runs ahead. But she doesn’t know the way so runs round and round and zigs and zags left and right. And she often has to double back when she goes the wrong way and we turn off in a different direction.

The media is like our dog wanting to lead but not knowing the way. And we are like real world business going the way that suits our purpose.



Are any of you currently working on, or planning a cloudy app?

8 Responses to “Office in a browser available now”

  1. Rob Bruce Says:

    I still think that trusting ‘the cloud’ with your corporate data is about as safe as dropping your usb stick in a car park.

  2. Michael Foord Says:

    ‘Cloud based’ office type apps have a few compelling use cases:

    * Collaboration (multiple users editing)
    * Remote *viewing* and sharing (centralised authoritative location)
    * Remote working (single user editing from multiple locations)

    Open source projects (like Python which I’m involved with) make great use of google docs and spreadsheets.

    However if I’m sat at a desk working for an employer I really don’t want to be using a web application.

    I think we will move to a blurring of the distinction between cloud based and desktop based applications – and that to me is far more interesting than doing everything in the browser.

  3. Simon Says:

    Rob – or leaving your files marked ‘Top Secret’ on a train?

    Michael, those are good uses of having data accessible, but a richer client than a browser could happily participate. Also with corporate data you normally already have shared places inside the firewall.

    I think for OS projects where people are scattered far and wide. I totally agree cloud/browser stuff makes a ton of sense. I can’t really see it within a more homogeneous enterprise though.

    I think you are right on the blurring over time, I just hope there is a place for rich client apps.

  4. jonpeltier Says:

    Simon – You have your head in the clouds again?

  5. Simon Says:

    Cloud or mist?

    I am assuming that if they had time to do such a pointless low priority job as making Excel work in a browser then they must have got through all the actually useful stuff in double quick time.
    Think: bug fixes, new functions, VBAIDE refresh, .net integration, powerful auditing features, real user definable functions, classic UI (;-)), 3D ranges etc etc.

    Or have I misunderstood the priorities?

  6. Jayson Says:

    I’m guessing they have chosen a browser because we all have them already.

    That being said, I have a major problem with the lack of functionality that office in a browser, or even shared documents brings. (i.e. lack of vba, tables, etc.)

  7. Stephane Rodriguez Says:

    I like the idea that, while Microsoft wants to move their customers to the cloud, people may actually insist in taking Microsoft web infrastructure but running it just within their intranet, leaving desktop licenses along the way. Excel services showed the way before, and with their latest news, Word and Powerpoint are joining too.

    Unrelated but I’m sure to be not the only one who thinks that in matter of an important factor for spreadsheets, speed, Microsoft is losing very fast in both cases : desktop (where the latest incarnation of Excel is slower than before), or web (where virtually any click or drag causes a web server round-trip). That is good news for us independents, with today’s needs headed towards heavier number crunching.

  8. Tom Gleeson Says:

    Google Docs in the classroom this is what MS fears, loosing the hearts’n’minds of the many. MS doesn’t wish to end just owning the high-end number crunching market, and if that happens expect to pay a far higher premium for “professional” Excel.


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