Microsoft has launched its Office Web Apps service in India. Office Web Apps are the online counterparts of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, available free of cost with a Windows Live ID on SkyDrive or Hotmail.
The application can be accessed using any internet connected device including most smartphones. The two biggest advantages of Office Web Apps are that you don’t have to download any applications on your phone, and the phone’s memory won’t be used. The application runs on a cloud computing model, wherein the software and user’s data is stored in a remote server which one can access from any device.
Google has a similar service called Google Docs that has been around for more than four years. However, Microsoft’s Office Suite is the most used office application in the world, and a cloud based MS Office software suite will undoubtedly make a compelling application.
Sanjay Manchanda, the director of Microsoft’s business division, says, “Office Web Apps are a key piece of Microsoft’s overall cloud strategy and are designed to empower people to take their familiar productivity experience on the web.”
He further added, “Features like ease of sharing and high document fidelity make Office Web Apps a powerful enabler of productivity in the cloud for modern information workers and consumers alike. Moreover, this is a great tool for students to collaborate on their school and college projects in a seamless way.”
Office Web Apps are capable of formatting a document with full images and footnotes, table borders and text effects. A Windows Live ID is required for Office Web Apps to work. The other requirements are a supported web browser (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari or mobile browsers such as Opera Mini,) and an internet connection.
More than 30 million people worldwide are already using the beta version of Office Web Apps within about six months since it was introduced. Microsoft also announced in November last year that people who use Facebook’s new messaging service will now be able to view Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents directly in Facebook using Office Web Apps.