Microsoft Office 365 is #2 in Top 11 Online Office suites

Last updated: November 02, 2019
Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 is commercial software plus services offering a set of products from Microsoft. Office 365 includes the Microsoft Office suite of desktop applications and hosted versions of Microsoft's Server products (including Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, and Lync Server). The free online MS Office document editors (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) are available in OneDrive.

Positions in ratings


#2 in Top 11 Online Office suites

Alternatives


The best alternatives to Microsoft Office 365 are: G Suite, Zoho, OneDrive, LibreOffice, iWork



Latest news about Microsoft Office 365


2019. Microsoft merges mobile Word, Excel and PowerPoint into single Office app


Microsoft introduced Office app that provides a simple, integrated experience and combines existing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint mobile apps. Doing so brings all of your Office documents together in one place, reduces the need to switch between multiple apps, and significantly reduces the amount of space used on your phone compared to multiple installed apps. Besides, with the new app you can easily get to recent and recommended documents stored in the cloud or on your device, or search for documents across your organization if using a work account, snap a picture of a document and turn it into an editable Word file with the press of a button, transform a picture of a table into an Excel spreadsheet so you can work with the data, create automatically enhanced digital images of whiteboards and documents with Office Lens features integrated into the app.




2019. Microsoft added table OCR to mobile Excel



Microsoft has added a new feature to the mobile Excel application that allows users to take a picture of the printed table and convert it into an Excel spreadsheet with editing capabilities. While the feature is only available for Android, but it will also come iOS soon. The feature is available only for Office 365 users. Of course, this feature is intended for simple tables. Complicated tables with merged cells are recognized with errors.


2018. Microsoft launches Office 2019 for Windows, macOS



Office 2019 is the next on-premises version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Project, Visio, Access, and Publisher. In PowerPoint 2019, you can create cinematic presentations with new features like Morph and Zoom. And improved inking features across the apps in Windows—like the roaming pencil case, pressure sensitivity, and tilt effects—allow you to naturally create documents. Excel 2019 adds powerful new data analysis features, including new formulas and charts and enhancements to PowerPivot. Word 2019 and Outlook 2019 help you focus on what matters most. Learning Tools, like Read Aloud and Text Spacing, make it easier to engage with your content. Focus Mode blocks out distractions and puts your content front and center. And Focused Inbox moves less important emails out of the way.


2018. Microsoft removes device limits for consumer Office 365 subscribers



Microsoft will soon drop the device limit on its consumer-grade Office 365 subscriptions and increase the number of users allowed under a single Office 365 Home plan, the company announced today. Starting October 2, subscribers can install Office on an unlimited number of devices. Under current rules, Office 365 Home, which costs $100 per year, allows for installation of the suite's applications — Word, Outlook, Excel and the rest — on only 10 devices, or an allowance of two devices for each of the five users who can shelter under the umbrella of a single subscription. Meanwhile, Office 365 Personal — a $70 annual plan with rights for just one individual — capped the device count at two total.


2018. Microsoft Office gets the new-old design



Microsoft begins rolling out subtle changes to the Office.com and Office 365 designs in order to make them look simpler and less cluttered. The biggest change by far is coming to Microsoft Word, where the toolbar at the top of the screen (officially dubbed "the ribbon") will be pared down to just one line. Fans of the classic design will be able to expand it back to the larger ribbon if they choose. The changes fit in with Microsoft's overarching Fluent Design language, which can be found across most parts of Windows 10. The updated ribbon will also include new animations, icons, and a few small color changes. Microsoft is delaying the rollout of the simplified ribbon to desktop by a few months. The company appears to be testing the new designs with the online apps and will take a look at feedback to see if any other changes should be made for the desktop versions.


2017. Microsoft Office arrived on Chromebooks



Full-featured versions of Microsoft Office apps are now available in the Google Play Store for Chromebooks. But to use Office apps on devices with screen bigger than 10.1 inches (for anything other than viewing documents) you'll need a Microsoft Office 365 subscription, which starts at $6.99 a month. You also need one of the latest Chromebooks, as Google made Chrome OS capable of supporting Android applications only last year. Of course, Google’s G Suite is still the more likely choice for a number of Chromebook users, but the ability to use Microsoft Office on a Chromebook makes them a potentially more viable option for businesses using Microsoft’s software. The other option is Windows 10 S – the streamlined version of Windows 10 the company is positioning as its Chrome OS competitor.


2017. Microsoft adds 5 new services for SMB to Office 365 Business Premium


To tie small businesses deeper into the Office 365 ecosystem Microsoft launched (in preview) five new tools for SMB. Microsoft Connections allows its users to create Mailchimp-like email marketing campaigns. Microsoft Listings allows to manage your business listings on Facebook, Google, Bing and Yelp and monitor online views and reviews. Microsoft Invoicing helps quickly create professional-looking estimates and invoices, so you get paid quickly. These new tools will be united in the new dashboard Office 365 Business center together with recently unveiled Microsoft Bookings and the Outlook Customer Manager. Besides the app MileIQ which tracks your business-miles on personal car also comes to Office 365 Business Premium. All new services will become available for preview over the next few weeks to Office 365 Business Premium subscribers in U.S., U.K. and Canada.


2017. Microsoft launched StaffHub - a new Office 365 app aimed at shift workers


Microsoft unveiled the new addition to its Office 365 suite - application for shift workers and management, called StaffHub. The program is aimed at those who don’t tend to work from desktop computers and have different schedules from week to week, such as in retail, hospitality, restaurants and other industries. Managers, who may have access to desktop or laptop computers, may use the web version of StaffHub to create the staff schedules in the program, but employees will likely only use StaffHub from their mobile phones. Staff can swap shifts with other workers in the mobile app and request time off — requests that get routed to a manager for approval. Push notifications are used to alert users of these requests and approvals along with other updates, private notes, chats and more. Plus, the app can be used for sharing notifications and internal resources. The software is available for free in Office 365 commercial plans.


2016. Office 365 gets its own built-in lightweight CRM


Microsoft rolled out a new tool for business owners using Office 365 and Outlook called Outlook Customer Manager, a lightweight CRM for companies that need to track their customer interactions and history, but aren’t yet ready for a more robust platform like Dynamics 365. The new tool lets businesses track tasks and deals in progress directly in Outlook, and will pop-up reminders aimed at helping them stay on top of their customer relationships. Once enabled, Outlook Customer Manager will automatically organize customer information, including emails, meetings, calls, notes, files, tasks, deals and deadlines. This information – which is collected from email, calendar and call log data – is presented in a timeline format next to the inbox. Users can associate certain tasks with a contact, company or deal, so they can interact with their customers in a more timely fashion. It’s also able to present lists of deals by stage, close dates, priority and amount.


2016. Office 365 now lets you invite guests to groups



From now Office 365 users will be able to include outside parties in their project, as Microsoft is rolling out guest access in Outlook on the web.  Once added, guests receive a welcome email, are granted access to group files in SharePoint Online, begin receiving email messages and calendar invites sent to the group, and can access the group in Office on the web and the Outlook Groups mobile application. They also have automatic access to cloud-based file attachments. All guests have to sign into Microsoft to get Office 365 access, but they can be part of any email domain, even if it’s not part of a business.


2016. Office 365 hets online booking app


Microsoft extanded its Office 365 suite with a new service called Bookings, which will allow customers to schedule appointments with a business using online software. In addition to connecting businesses and customers without the need for a phone call, Bookings will also manage other aspects to appointment management, including sending out confirmations and reminders, handling re-scheduling and cancellations, updating the business staff’s calendar, and more. Businesses are provided with a unique web page that works on both desktop and mobile where customers can select their dates and times based on current availability. Here, they’ll enter in their contact information and book the appointment. The system then automates the rest of the process surrounding appointment management.


2016. Office 365 groups gets connectors



Microsoft released Office 365 Connectors that enable teams who have been pulled together in an Office 365 Group to share third-party services using a single sign-in or account. Office 365 Connectors can surface all the information that a team may need from services like Twitter, LinkedIn or Trello, and makes it available through the shared Groups inbox. By providing an integrated experience that link together email conversations, file storage, and calendar event management, Groups create an integrated experience for teams to focus on group activity.


2015. Microsoft released Office 2016


Microsoft is releasing Office 2016, offering refreshed versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other applications. The look and feel of the programs will be familiar to anyone who has used the 2013 edition of Microsoft’s productivity software. Much of what’s new with the 2016 edition is better integrated collaboration tools. A new co-authoring feature allows multiple users to edit the same document in real time, long a feature of Office’s Web-based cousins and apps built by Google and other Microsoft competitors. Also arriving is chat service Skype, which will be embedded within Office apps to let users send instant messages, share images of their work, or video chat from within a document. Other new features include a search tool to locate specific functions within Office, and a research tool that pulls data from the Internet into documents. Microsoft is pushing to sell the software suite through Office 365, the company’s subscription program, instead of the traditional model of a one-time purchase that gives the user rights to the software in perpetuity.


2015. Microsoft opens Office for Android tablets to all



Microsoft launched mobile Office for Android preview back in November last year. And now it has opened up the preview for anyone, making Word, Excel and Power Point available directly in the Google Play Store. There are still a few stipulations, though: You’ll need an ARM-powered tablet with a screen size between 7 and 10.1 inches and be running Android KitKat or Lollipop. Most modern tablets then should be fine, and if you have one, you can test out Microsoft’s touch-optimized productivity suite.


2014. Microsoft adds Video service to Office 365


Microsoft is now offering Office 365 Video - the new feature for posting, sharing and discovering video content. Think of it as a YouTube for Enterprise. Use cases include video sharing for customer service, video as an inter-team collaboration tool and video for improving sales and training. Where Office 365 is deployed, video will be made available across the enterprise at no additional cost to current users. Powered by Azure Media Services, Office 365 Video offers adaptive smooth streaming technology that optimizes video playback for the device it’s being viewed on. It will make it available to most Office 365 plans for enterprise early next year.


2014. Microsoft makes Office free for iPhone, iPad and Android



Microsoft made its full-fledged Office apps free on iOS and Android. The update adds standalone Word, Excel, and Powerpoint apps for iPhone. Previously, there was a single Microsoft Office app that allowed users to view Word, Excel and Powerpoint files and make basic edits, but the individual apps didn't have their own offerings for iPhone. The new iPhone apps have the same advanced editing capabilities as their iPad counterparts, though they've been optimized for the smaller-screened iPhones. Microsoft is also finally launching Office apps for Android tablet, which are still in the works and expected to become available in 2015. The update greatly expands the apps' capabilities for free users, who can now create and edit documents in Word, Excel and Powerpoint without an Office 365 subscription. Previously, users couldn't create or edit files without forking over $99 per year.


2014. Dropbox integrates with Microsoft Office



Microsoft and Dropbox announced a partnership that will see Dropbox better support Microsoft’s Office suite. The deal has four main parts: Quickly editing Office docs from the Dropbox mobile app; accessing Dropbox docs from Office apps; sharing Dropbox links of Office apps; and the creation of first-party Dropbox apps for Microsoft’s mobile offerings. No you can add your Dropbox account to Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint mobile apps, navigate folders and files on Dropbox to view and edit in the native Office apps. In return, Dropbox will encourage its users to turn to Microsoft Office applications to edit and create their documents in the first place. Microsoft has another alliance with Box to ease co-existence of Office 365 and Box cloud storage and file sync software.


2014. Office 365 gets unlimited OneDrive storage.



As of today, Office 365 Home, Personal and University customers are getting the storage boost. Business customers will get unlimited storage will get unlimited storage also soon. In the meantime, they have 1 TB of storage per user. OneDrive works much like Google Drive, allowing you to access content on all of your devices, plus share it and collaborate on documents. Google Drive, Box, Dropbox and other cloud-storage utilities, though, have limited storage capabilities. If you meet a limit, you have to buy more. Bitcasa, one of the few platforms to offer unlimited storage, actually ceased that operation last week, giving Microsoft a big advantage in regards to storage.


2014. How artificial intelligence in Office 365 works?


Back in spring this year, Microsoft started to implement artificial intelligence in Office 365. The project codenamed Oslo was designed to automatically organize information for an employee basing of his relations with colleagues and documents. Today, Microsoft presented the main components of this artificial intelligence and makes them available for Enterprise version subscribers. So the main components are: Office Graph (virtual network built on the links between people and documents) and Office Delve (intelligent search engine, that finds and displays the appropriate information in context). For example, when you view an event in the calendar, it will show you people involved in this event, documents, emails and social posts, related to this event.


2014. Microsoft lowers Office 365 pricing for small business



On October 1, 2014, Microsoft will release three new Office 365 plans tailored to meet the needs of small and midsized businesses: Office 365 Business Essentials ($5/user/month), Office 365 Business ($8.25/user/month) and Office 365 Business Premium ($12.5/user/month). This new lineup will replace our current plans for SMBs over time – Small Business, Small Business Premium and Midsize Business. The cheapest option includes only cloud office products,  but not desktop versions of the Office. The middle version provides full Office apps on all your devices including your PC, Mac, iPad and smartphone and includes 1TB of cloud storage. And the Premium version will provide improved features and additional services like Yammer and Active Directory support. Microsoft is also raising the max number of employees from 25 to 300.


2014. Microsoft adds Office to Google's store, launches 7$/month version


It seems that the new Microsoft boss Satya Nadella doesnэt feel natural  hate towards Google like his predecessor. At least Microsoft's Office Online is now available in the Chrome Web Store. While not so long ago Microsoft urged users to avoid Google Chrome, because it's stealing their data for advertising purposes (watch the video above). By the way, according to rumors, this anti-google advertising campaign "Don't get Scroggled" is already frozen. The second news - Microsoft has launched Office 365 personal subscription plan that costs $7/month or $70/year. It allows you to install the full-fledged MS office on one computer, install the complete mobile Office on one tablet and unlimited use of Office on smartphones and in browser. Prior to that, the cheapest option of Office 365 was $100/year (for 5 users / computers).


2014. Microsoft launches Office for iPad. Makes Office for iPhone and Android free


Looks like thing are changing in Microsoft after the coming of Satya Nadella. Before him Microsoft management believed that people using Android and iOS - is a temporary misunderstanding. They hoped that in the future all people will return to Windows and will be happy. But the new boss said today that "our customers are already using a number of compute platforms, giving Microsoft zero option". After that he presented the long-awaited Office для iPad. The bad news is that if you want to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint on iPad - you need to subscribe to Office 365 (which costs from $6.99/month). The same thing was with iPhone/Android before. But today, another miracle happened and Office for iPhone/Android has became free. I.e. now you can for free edit documents from cloud storage OneDrive on your smartphone. So maybe the iPad version also will become free soon. By the way, it already provides a free option to view documents and show PowerPoint presentations.


2014. Office 365 gets some social-intelligence features



Microsoft today unveiled major update to its online office suite Office 365, adding some new social tools with a smell of artificial intelligence. First, the office is now watching you: with whom you communicate via email, chat and voice communications (via Lync), to whom you share documents. And basing on this data it creates for you "groups" (like in the picture above . Then these groups appear in Outlook and Yammer social network and you'll be able to intelligently filter mail and discussions by group/topic. Another intelligent page is now showing the documents that Artificial Intelligence Office considers most relevant to you #rightnow. So if you come to work sleepy and it's difficult for you to understand what you are doing here - open this page and everything will become clear. Here is this page: Other innovations - are more clear. The online file storage app OneDrive gets file comments for collaboration. Furthermore , OneDrive for Business, previously only available as a component in Office 365 and SharePoint, becomes a separate service and costs $1.50/month/user. In addition, Office 365 adds video portal where you can upload videos and and share them with employees.


2014. What is Office Online?



As you know, Microsoft was recently forced to rename the file storage and sync service SkyDrive to OneDrive. But Microsoft marketers didn't stop at this point and decided to rename also Office Web Apps. If you hear this title for the first time - it's not surprising. These applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote) work inside that SkyDrive (OneDrive) and you probably didn't care how they were called. However, now Microsoft is introducing a new label - Office Online on a separate site. Microsoft marketers say that before now when people searched for "Office Online" they didn't underestand why they need to sign up on SkyDrive. And now they will find Office Online and quickly begin working. However, eliminating one confusion - they gave birth to another: now users need to understand the difference between Office Online and Office 365.


2013. Web Office Apps add normal real-time co-authoring


Microsoft's online document editors Office Web Apps (available in SkyDrive and Office 365) already provided collaborative editing for some time. But it worked in the old-fashioned way: you had to press the Save button - and only then your colleagues saw the changes you made. Now this feature will become modern: you'll be able to see who is currently working on a document and see what collaborators are doing. And the Save button is gone, now the changes are saved automatically. So now it works just like in Google Docs. But this does not mean that Microsoft's online editors are lagging behind Google's. Regarding the document formatting, Office Web Apps does the better job, especially after today's update. In particular, the Word Web App added page headers and footers, ability to find and replace words and phrases, table styles and formatting and the Excel Web App added status bar and the ability to drag and drop cells and reorder sheets.


2013. Microsoft launched Office for Android



And you can download and install it FREE on your phone with one condition. What condition ...? Right! You must have the paid Office 365 subscription (which starts at $100/year). The same story was with the Office for iPhone and Outlook for iPhone. Don't want to pay for Office 365? Then buy Windows Phone, where Office is really available for free. That is the new policy of Microsoft. And everything is even worse in case with tablets. The new mobile Office doesn't work either on iPad or on Android-tablets. Because Microsoft still can't sell the own Surface tablets. As for the Office for Android itself, it's quite good app for editing Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, that runs on Android 4.0 and higher. SkyDrive is used as the default place to save documents.


2013. Office 365 adds Business Intelligence tools



While Apple makes its first steps with online office suites and learns how to draw simple diagrams, Microsoft has built business intelligence tools - Power BI - into its Office 365. This is quite useful thing, and not only for big companies but also for small business. It allows you to sort, group and organize large datasets, visualize them and create beautiful reports that will be updated when the data source is updated (data source is an Excel table). For example, you have a large table of orders loaded from your accounting system. With Power BI you can turn this large and unclear table into small and useful tables, for example: customers by industry, customers by city, sales by month, top customers by profit, etc. These little pieces of information will help you to understand who is your target audience and where your business is heading. Of course, you can visualize these pieces of information into charts or even 3d-graphs on a map. Moreover, these data analytics can be done by anyone (director or marketing specialist), who have no clue how to build database queries. English-speaking users can even build data analytics in natural language - for example, enter "show our sales pipeline". For now Power BI for Office 365 works in preview-mode. The commercial launch is scheduled for this fall.


2013. Microsoft released free Office for iPhone



Think Microsoft has finally stopped playing political games and released Office for the competing platform? Of course not. Political games go on. Just Microsoft has invented the better idea. Yes, they are really launching full-featured Word, Excel and PowerPoint for iPhone. And these apps - are really free. But they can be used only by Office 365 subscribers (who pay from $99.99 a year). And, of course, these apps can open and edit only those documents that are stored in SkyDrive cloud or on enterprise SharePoint server. But even with these limitations, Microsoft hasn't yet dared to release Office for iPad, otherwise its latest ads iPad vs Surface wouldn't be so funny any more. As for functionality, the Office for iPhone is quite decent.  It supports rich media content like charts, animations, SmartArt graphics and shapes. And since it works through MS’ cloud service, all changes saved on the phone updates the original, too. And of course, the main advantage of this mobile office is the best compatibility with Microsoft's document formats.


2013. Building a company website: Microsoft Office 365 vs SharePoint



Perhaps for many people it will be a surprise, but Microsoft Office 365 allows to create a public website for your company (thanks to SharePoint Online component). The practice of building websites on SharePoint existed for a long time. But it was quite expensive (due to the cost of SharePoint licenses and Windows hosting). Second, SharePoint was originally designed for intranet portals, and for public sites it's not very appropriate. Therefore, only large companies (for whatever reasons) used SharePoint as a website engine. But with the appearance of Office 365 things changed to better. Having Office 365 subscription, small business owner can create a company website for free. And the only technical skills he needs  - is Word editing.


2013. Real-time co-authoring in PowerPoint Online. Office Web Apps on Android tablets



Last week Microsoft representative said this: "When we launched the Office Web Apps in 2010, they were companions to the Office desktop experience that enabled lightweight, on-the-go content creation and review. Since then, we've made a number of investments in Office Web Apps to make it easier for people to work together, author documents and access Office content from virtually any device. Our goal is to deliver Office Web Apps that people can rely on to create polished Office documents from start to finish, all from the Web. Moreover in 10 years we plan to discontinue the sales of the desktop office and move all users to the online office." This announcement was complemented by two new features: real-time collaborative editing in PowerPoint Online (watch the video above) and support for Chrome browser on Android tablets.


2013. Office 365 for Business: new pricing quest from Microsoft



A month after the release of Office 365 home version, Microsoft is launching the updated version of Office 365 for Business. Just like in its previous incarnation, the business version besides the office editors (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, InfoPath) contains the email server Exchange, SharePoint portal and communications system Lync. Plus all sorts of IT-friendly things like Active Directory integration and the Admin Console. And as usual, Microsoft comes up with confusing variety of subscription plans. For example, some editions don't include desktop Office apps and some - include. Some editions can be installed on 5 computers, some - just on one. Some prices are per month, some - per year. And of course, every edition has different limit in the number of users. The price of Office 365 Small Business Premium, which provides the same functionality as Google Apps, is $150/year per user (Google Apps costs $50).


2013. New Office 2013: Bring Your Own Office?


One of our Enterprise 2.0 2013 predictions was the further development of BYO (Bring Your Own) trend. We said that with the own devices, employees will bring to work their own apps. Today, after the official release of Microsoft Office 2013, it looks like our prediction is coming true. Just look at the video: some guy is showing how he works everywhere with his own office. It's definitely his OWN office (Home Premium), because the enterprise version of Office 2013 will appear only in a month. But what is the reason of this phenomenon? The reason is in the new MS Office licensing scheme. Microsoft doesn't want to sell Office any more, it wants users to subscribe to it. No, the one-time payment option is still available, but it looks far less attractive than subscription. Let's compare. The annual subscription to Office 365 Home Premium costs $99. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access. The price of the similar suite of Office Professional 2013 is $400. And, in case with subscription - you additionally get 20 GB of SkyDrive space, 60 minutes per month for Skype IP-telephony and you can install Office on up to 5 computers / tablets. But when you buy the Office - you can install it on one computer only, and no other bonuses. So most users will probably choose the subscription option and will be able to install the own Office on the work computer (and small businesses will be able to save money on this). The functional advantages and disadvantages of the new office we have already reviewed earlier. About the differences of the enterprise version we'll talk in a month, when it appears.


2012. Microsoft Project and SharePoint will join Office 365



Together with SharePoint 2013 (probably in early 2013) Microsoft will release its project management system Microsoft Project 2013. These two systems have become inseparable, because SharePoint is used as a collaboration layer under the administrative component of MS Project. With the new version, this integration will become even tighter. You'll be able to start a new project by creating a simple page with a task list and calendar in SharePoint, and only when you need more close control over the project you'll be able to turn on this project management in the MS Project. But of course, the main news about Project 2013 is appearance of the online version Project Online, that will be available in the Office 365 cloud. And, (like in case with new SharePoint Online), developers will be able to create their own add-ons and even sell them via Office marketplace. Microsoft promises that Project Online will support all browsers. However, the online version will not have all the features of the desktop syster. In particular, there will be no new super reporting module, which is already admired by all MS Project fans.


2012. 200,000 Toyota Employees Will Use Office 365


Though Microsoft is positioning its Office 365 as a solution for small business, it has nothing to do but to offer it to large companies also. Because they also want SaaS. After Google won the deal with General Motors (to implement Google Apps), Microsoft needed the similar victory. And they did it - Toyota will provide its 200,000 employees based in Japan and other overseas affiliates with Office 365. They'll be able to use not only online document editors, but also the online version of Outook / Exchange, Lync, SharePoint. How much will Toyota pay for each license - is unknown. A few days ago Microsoft introduced the pricing for the new Office version, and there is no option for large enterprises. Office 365 Small Business Premium will cost $150/year per user (and this license covers up to 5 user devices). In general, the new Office pricing is difficult to understand (as usual), but one thing is clear - Microsoft made using the Office 365 subscription model more cheap than buying desktop licenses. Because they are already very tired of convincing users to upgrade every time. It's better to collect the small (but stable) fees for the SaaS-version.


2012. Microsoft Office gets own (cloud) App Store


Nowadays any popular service or application should have its own App Store, because the third-party developers want to build add-ons for popular products, and users - are eager to buy them. So Microsoft Office also gets the own app store - Office Store. Of course, it will only work with Office 2013, so that users had another reason to upgrade. For example, it contains an app that displays maps with points in Excel or an app that shows the LinkedIn-profile for a contact in Outlook. Interestingly, the Office Store will include only cloud applications. There will be no Visual Basic macroses. The advantage of this approach is that you don't  need to install additional apps. Microsoft does not restrict developers in selecting the cloud platform on which the application is hosted. It can be Azure or Amazon or other platform. The revenue split is more favorable than other app models, with an 80/20 split (the devs take 80%).


2012. Microsoft Office 365 with Dell: nobody works in the office any more

It seems that soon Microsoft will have to rename its Office 365 to something like OnTheGo 365, because the old name will lose its relevance. Judging from the Dell's video (which introduces Dell, as Office 365 provider) people now work on the street, in cafes, at home, in cars, airports and airplanes and come to the office only for meetings.


2012. New Office Web Apps add mobile touch interface, real-time collaboration



Microsoft started preview testing of the new version of its browser-based document editing applications Office Web Apps. Everybody can already join the preview on the SkyDrive or Office 365. The first thing that has changed - is the interface. It's now exactly like the upcoming Office 2013. And the main feature of this interface - is its adaption to the tablets with touch-screen. In general, the main objective pursued by Microsoft in this update - is to improve the performance of Office Web Apps on mobile devices (in mobile browsers). And the new mobile web interface for smartphones, is perhaps even better than its main competitor - Google Docs: The second major update in Office Web Apps - is real-time collaboration support in all applications. Previously it worked only in Excel Web App. In addition, the new handy commenting feature has appeared. It allows to insert comments (discussions) anywhere in a document or presentation. Microsoft also announced that Office Web Apps will be available in SharePoint 2013 as a new Office Web Apps Server, that means that it would be possible to integrate them into third-party applications.


2012. New MS Office 2013: touch-interface, cloud roaming and subscription plans


As usual together with the new version of Windows 8 Microsoft will released the new Microsoft Office, because Windows can't live without the Office. Yesterday Steve Ballmer for the first time demonstrated Office 2013 to the public. As might be expected, the main upgrade is a new touch-interface, which is adapted for mouse, stylus and fingers. The second new feature - default integration with the cloud storage SkyDrive, which allows not only to save all files to the cloud, but also to sync files and Office settings between the all user computers and mobile devices. The third feature - integration between desktop Office and cloud Office 365. Microsoft will focus not on the Office sales, but on the Office 365 subscriptions, which also include desktop editors license. Of course, there are a lot of new small features that are probably not very interesting. More interesting is to pay attention to those features that will NOT appear in the Office 2013: 1. Simple licensing scheme Although Microsoft is moving to the cloud, its pricing is still in the past - it's so confusing, that no one can understand it. Microsoft even provids users with a Guide for version selection and price calculation. How much is Google Apps? $50/year per user. How much is MS Office? Go, read the Guide. 2. Integration with Skype and Yammer Formally, Skype is now a part of the Office. Each Office 365 subscriber will get 60 free minutes per month for Skype calls. Besides, Skype will power the online status indication in Outlook. But these innovations look very ridiculous taking into account the real Skype's potential. And recently acquired Yammer, though appeared on the Office presentation slides, but most probably will be left behind the Office update. 3. Mobile platforms support Here is an exact quote of Microsoft's spokeswoman: "Office Mobile will work across Windows Phones, Android phones and iOS but Microsoft will discuss those plans later.


2011. Microsoft updates Office 365 and SkyDrive. Adds new territories



Microsoft has released an update fro its online collaboration suite Office 365, which includes 30 new features. The most important of them are support for Windows Phone 7.5, opportunity to edit documents stored in SharePoint Online on Windows Phone, Lync client for Windows Phone and Mac, ability to integrate Sharepoint Online with third-party applications (via SharePoint Business Connectivity Services), improved file uploading and sharing tools. Microsoft also made Office 365 available in 22 new countries including Argentina, South Africa and Taiwan. Together with Office 365 its free mass-market alternative SkyDrive has been updated. It also features the new HTML5-uploader an slick file sharing (that we have already mentioned). These new features, and the new file management tools are shown in this video:


2011. Microsoft is working on Office for iPad



It seems, Microsoft is already feeling confidence in its mobile future. According to The Daily report, in the 1st half of 2012 Microsoft will release Mobile Office for the competing platform - iPad. Of course, iPad is very popular among business users and Microsoft can easily dramatically increase its incomes by selling mobile Word and Excel for the iPad at $10 (the planned price). But from the political point of view, Microsoft is not interested in making iPad even more attractive product, because it competes with the upcoming Windows 8 tablets. However, after the intention of HP and several other manufacturers to support Windows 8, Microsoft is not afraid of iPad any more. As expected, the MS Office for iPad will be significantly stripped-down compared to the desktop version and will be integrated with the online service Office 365. For now iPad users already have several options for working with office documents: native iWork (which, however, can't edit MS Office documents), QuickOffice, Documents to Go and Office2. They all cost about $10-15 per app. And you can also use the free web services Google Docs and Zoho Docs in iPad's browser.


2011. Video-battle: GMail vs Microsoft Office 365


Remember how Mark Benioff laughed at Microsoft's anti-advertising campaign? It turns out that Microsoft also can do similar things. A few days ago Google launched the advertising campaign that encourages users to switch from draconian email systems and their “embarrassingly outdated addresses” over to GMail, which features such niceties as free phone calls and video chat. For this campaign the video (see above) was created. You can see the red link to this video in your GMail-account. But Microsoft, whose Hotmail service is obviously one of the targets of Google's campaign, isn’t keeping quiet. Today another video hit the Web: This video makes fun of GMail as it parses message text in order to show contextual ads. The video ends with the slogan: "Your email -  is your business. Google makes it theirs. Microsoft Office 365. A better solution for your business".   Although Microsoft hasn’t confirmed that it stands behind the video but the insider sources confirm that it was created inside Microsoft.


2011. Office Web Apps integrated into Russian Mail.Ru



Microsoft has invented an interesting way to promote its online office suite Office Web Apps. They have inbuilt their online office applications in the most popular Russian email service - Mail.Ru. Now when Mail.Ru users receive attached document they can view them directly in browser. There is no editing for now because Mail.Ru doesn't provide any document repository. Interestingly that Mail.Ru became the first in the world (after Windows Live Hotmail) email service with integrated Office Web Apps. And since Microsoft decided to hold this experiment in Russian internet, its quite strange that they partnered with Mail.Ru, but not with the biggest Russian search engine Yandex, which has more reasons to support Microsoft in their fight against Google. Perhaps because the Yandex-Mail already has its own document viewer. True, unlike Microsoft's it violates the document formatting and can't search in a document.


2011. Office 365 is going to expand: BlackBerry, Dynamics, Project, Visio



For now the SaaS suite Microsoft Office 365 includes e-mail server Exchange Online, portal Sharepoint Online, document editors Office Web Apps and communication server Lync Online. But Microsoft has plans to expand this suite and make it the one-stop-service for small and medium business. The BlackBerry Office 365 module has been already announced. It will provide Blackberry users the push-access to Office 365 data. Also, we have previously reported about the plans to add MS Dynamics CRM Online and the future MS Dynamics ERP to Office 365. And according to the latest (insider) information in late 2012 or early 2013 the suite will be expanded by the online version of project management solution MS Project and the diagram editor MS Visio. The server part MS Project Server has been already provided as an online service by some Microsoft partners for some time. However, the lack of the online client app for this solution is surprising, given the huge number of other online project management systems. The same with Visio. The latest version of Sharepoint allows to view Visio docs in browser, but they can't be edited. At the same time, there are a lot of online Visio clones in the market. First of all it's Gliffy. And Google Docs has already added the diagram editor Google Drawings.


2011. Office 365 is officially available in 40 countries



Today Steve Ballmer at the press-event in New York officially announced the launch of the cloud solution Office 365. And it's nice that it becomes available globally. Office 365 is offered in 21 languages (English, Br Portuguese, Chinese (simplified, traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Spanish, Swedish, Romanian, and Russian) and 40 countries (US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, and the UK). Recall that Office 365 includes online versions of Office applications - Office Web Apps (Word, Excel and PowerPoint), as well as online versions of Exchange, SharePoint and Lync. And of course, talking about Office 365, we can't help mentioning about its main competitor - Google Apps. The day before the Office 365 release Shan Sinha, a former director of strategy for Microsoft SharePoint, and now Google Apps Product Manager, posted in Google's official enterprise blog the article called "365 reasons to consider Google Apps". In fact, there are fewer reasons and these are the general ones: Collaboration. Shang says that Google Apps are created for teams and Office 365 - for personal productivity. He means the superiority of Google Docs over the Office Web Apps in real-time collaborative editing. Cross-platform. Shang says that Google Apps work anywhere, while Office 365 actually works only on Windows / Internet Explorer. By the way, it's confirmed by Galen Gruman from Infoword, who personally tested Office 365 on Linux, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry - and only Exchange worked on them fine, and other apps didn't because of the usege of ActiveX and Silverlight technologies. Reliability. Shang says that this year (in fact) GMail was available 99.99% of time. While the BPOS (the Office 365 predecessor) had a couple of significant outages. Price. Shang says that Google Apps pricing is simple and affordable. Google Apps is US$ 5/month with no lock-ins. And "Office 365 is… well, difficult to work out with three editions, two tiers and 11 planes".


2011. Google and Box.net prepare to meet Office 365



Next week Microsoft will officially launch its online office suite Office 365, and of course, the major competitors, Google and Box.net, want to spoil this party. First, they have integrated their solutions. Now Box.net users can edit any stored document in the Google Docs online editors. In addition, they can (in just one click) create new documents in Box.net folders by opening Google Docs apps. Recall that Box.net also features the similar integration with Zoho Docs, so now users will have a choice. Box.net CEO, Aaron Levy, says that he played with the beta version of Office 365 and that it’s lacking the power and functionality of the bunch Box + Google Docs. Second, Google has improved its Google Cloud Connect plug-in (that allows to collaborate on documents in MS Office editors via Google Docs). Now, working in any MS Office editor, you can in a couple of clicks find and open a document from Google Docs. Besides Google leaked the screenshot showing the new Google Docs offline mode. Previously the offline support in Google Docs was implemented by the Google Gears plugin, but then it was dropped and the developers promised to realize it in HTML5.


2011. Windows SkyDrive moves from Silverlight to HTML5


Microsoft has finally killed the intrigue on the future of Silverlight in web-applications (recall this intrigue emerged at the end of last year). The new version of the online file storage Windows SkyDrive (which works as the basis of all Windows Live services) is completely rebuilt on HTML5 instead of Silverlight (even video player is now working on HTML5). SkyDrive is now much faster and supports all browsers (even Google Chrome). Along with the underlying technology shift, the developers have rebuild the service interface - it's now very similar to the Windows folder interface. Moreover, users of Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 9 can get to SkyDrive directly from the taskbar and with one click create Word, Excel, PowerPoint documents in Office Web Apps online editors: And when working in the online SkyDrive folders user can open documents in the online editors as well as in desktop Office 2010. In the second case, the document is automatically saved back to the online folder. Recall also that, unlike the new Apple iCloud, Windows SkyDrive allows to create collaborative workspaces and share documents with your team (and the developers promise to add the editing permissions to these shared folders).


2011. Office 365 vs Google Apps: first look



Microsoft has opened its online Office 365 for public beta testing and there are already first reviews, so we can already judge of how this service will justify its label "Google Apps killer". Recall, Office 365 includes online versions of Exchange, Sharepoint, Lync and the office suite Office Web Apps. So the functionality of Office 365 is even better than in Google Apps. But "killing Google Apps" hardly possible because these are quite different products. Office 365 is more appropriate for medium and large companies, who used to work in Microsoft-oriented IT infrastructure, that already have an IT administrator who knows Active Directory, Exchange and Sharepoint settings. Without such administrator you can't manage Office 365, it's not so simple as Google Apps. Office 365 is likely to win if the decision to move online is taken by IT department (not by users). It really provides are lot of administrative tools. But the end-users will often suffer because of little details. For example, Office 365 doesn't work properly in mobile browsers and provides native app only for Windows Phone. Or, in order to simultaneously edit online Word document, users need to have desktop Word 2010 installed. In general, Office 365 is still tightly bundled to Office 2010 desktop suite and that may result in lower pace of innovation with this cloud offering. Unlike Google Apps there is no free version in Office 365. The price starts at $6/month per user. Of course, Microsoft has the free Windows Live Office, but this is not the same. In this sense, Google Apps has more coherent strategy, providing the same service for free and for monthly fee (with difference in functionality). In addition, the cost of the Google Apps paid version ($ 50 per year per user) - is lower in any case. Another advantage of Google Apps - is Google Apps Marketplace. It was definitely good idea and many developers have integrated their products with Google Apps. In response, Microsoft has unveiled Office 365 Marketplace. The idea is the same, but we'll see if they succeed in attracting developers. The first Office 365 testers also report of the large number of bugs in the service. Of course it doesn't mean that they won't be fixed, but it means that the working version won't appear in the near future. Moreover the beta is available not everywhere - only 38 countries are able to participate in this public beta and it supports 16 languages including, English, Chinese (traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Spanish, Swedish and Romanian.


2010. 5 Enterprise 2.0 forecasts for 2011



It's not very interesting to read IT analysts' forecasts for the next year. All of them are predicting further growth of cloud IT infrastructures, the increasing number of mobile apps, SaaS-service, further implementation of social tools into all business applications, further integration of the intranet systems with external social networks. Thank you, Captain Obvious. Unlike them, we'll focus on less global, but more interesting events that are expected to tale place next year: 1. Social Business Intelligence Enterprise clones of Facebook and Twitter, social CRM (which is now quickly implemented) - of course give employees a lot of useful information. But with it they create a lot of noise (social spam) that reduce work effectiveness. That is why there is a strong need in social business intelligence technologies that will filter the social noise and provide each employee the most important and relevant information. In addition, we expect that social Email-technologies will find new ways of filtering e-mail spam. 2. Re-imagine CMS First, we expect the boom of Site-as-a-Service solutions. Perhaps the leading online office providers (Google, Zoho, Microsoft) will pay more attention to this subject, and make the creation of a small business site as affordable and necessary thing, as the registration email-address. Second, company Web-presence already can't be limited to a corporate site. Companies should benefit on using social networks (Facebook, Foursquare, Groupon ...) to find and retain customers. Therefore, corporate CMS will become able to manage the content, distributed over many sites on the Social Web. 3. Video calls on tablets and TV As known, in 2011 the iPad 2 with front camera (and a lot of other tablets) will be unveiled. And these will be ideal devices for mobile video calls. At hotels and airports we'll see people comfortably sitting on chairs, holding tablets in their hands and talking to someone. Moreover, thanks to Skype and Google, affordable (and free) video calls will come to HDTVs. Therefore, in many offices we'll see common TVs, which will be used to contact with branch offices, partners, home-based staff or those people sitting with tablets at hotels and airports. 4. Webified communications This year Google turned GMail into the unified communications tool by adding Google Voice. Now you can make and receive calls in a browser. Skype also announced the Web-based client. We think that this trend will become a mainstream in 2011. As a result, VoIP and video calls will become more affordable and popular. In addition, we expect a large spread of such tools as "calls via site", site voice menus and on-site video-receptions. Perhaps we'll also see the implementation of Facebook Messages idea - the integration of email, social, VoIP, video communications around discussions. 5. Microsoft SaaS to take on partners In 2011, Microsoft Office 365 (along with Dynamics CRM Online) will become available dlobally. I.e. Exchange, Sharepoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM will be available as SaaS services and compete with Microsoft's own partners that host these solutions or implement them for clients. In theory this should lead to lower prices and SaaS market push. But for Microsoft - it's a political decision, so progress will be slowed down.


2010. Microsoft Office 365 = Microsoft Exchange + Office Web Apps

Today, Microsoft has rolled out a new service Office 365, which is a reincarnation of the SaaS package BPOS. The name change was expected, since Microsoft critics have referred BPOS as "Big Piece of Shit" instead of "Business Productivity Online Services". But not only name is to be changed. The new service except SaaS versions Exchange Online, Sharepoint Online and Lync Online, will include the online office tools Office Web Apps. I.e. Office 365 can now be considered as a full-fledged alternative to Google Apps. The service will be available in 2 editions. Small Business Edition for companies with less than 25 users costs $6/user/month and includes the basic functions. Enterprise edition provides additional customization and administration features, full functionality and provides users with desktop suite Office Office Professional Plus with pay-as-you-go licensing. This edition costs from $2 to $ 27/user/month depending on configuration. Recall, Microsoft also plans to include its CRM and ERP to the SaaS suite. At the moment, Office 365 is in beta stage and will be available worldwide next year.


2010. MS Office Web Apps go global, add embed-features



Today Microsoft has rolled out the second update to its online office suite Office Web Apps and made it available in 7 more countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Russia and Switzerland. In the first update in August some very useful features appeared: charts and auto fill in Excel Web App and free clip-art gallery in PowerPoint Web App. Today update is also very interesting. Now you can embed PowerPoint presentations as well as Excel charts and tables to any site or blog. If you insert a table from Excel - visitors can change cell values to recalculate results, but the source excel-file in your account will not change. Conversely, if you change something in the original excel-file - table or chart in the widget will be updated too, so visitors always see the latest information. According to Microsoft, during the first 100 days from the release, Office Web App where used by over 20 million people.


2010. Windows Live Office and Office Web Apps are available for all



Yesterday, Microsoft officially launched Windows Live Office with Office Web Apps for english-speaking users (US, UK, Canada & Ireland). But anyone can already use them by switching the language in the Live ID account to English. Documents can be accessed in Office menu or SkyDrive menu. To understand why, read our review. Unfortunately, the first impression of Windows Live Office - is negative. Of course, we knew that online office apps will be light. And the fact that there are no diagrams and no cell autofill in the Excel Web App, and no rich paste in OneNote Web App, and no file move between folders in Live Office - all these is not disappointing. But the main thing that we expected - correct Word formatting support - actually doesn't work. It's fair to say that in View mode all documents are displayed perfectly. But when the Edit mode is opened the formatting is displayed corrupted. Paragraph indents disappear and tables (which have configured column width or merged cells) are displayed wrong. In addition a lot of "SoftBreak" objects (which online text processor can't display) appear. Good news  is that when you return to the View mode, the old formatting is retained. So you can the online Word to make light editing to existing documents, but not to create rich documents or rich editing.


2010. What will Microsoft's online office look like?



Microsoft has done a great job to confuse users with their online office applications. Office Live, Office Live Workspace, Office Live Small Business, Live Folders, Foldershare, Live Docs, SkyDrive, Live Mesh, Docs.com, Office Web Apps - a lot of similar in functionality or name services, formed in result of numerous acquisitions and rebrandings. Taking into account the existence of Exchange and Sharepoint SaaS versions (BPOS), it becomes a mystery - what Microsoft's online office suite is and what it's target audience. The new version of Windows Live Wave 4 (which includes the online office) is trying to bring this chaos into order, however, again  by the numerous mergers and renamings. Let's try to understand all this stuff. Windows Live Office So, the new name for Microsoft's online office is Windows Live Office (do not confuse with Office Live). This Live Office will work on top of SkyDrive storage, which is also used, for example, by Photos service. It was also announced that: - Online versions of MS Office programs - Office Web Apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) will be available for free in SkyDrive - Office Live Workspace, that enables to store documents and collaborate with them online, will merge with SkyDrive So in the Windows Live navigation menu we'll have the Office service similar to Google Docs. It will contain a list of folders and files that can be viewed and edited online (using the Office Web Apps) and shared with colleagues. From SkyDrive it will get 25 GB of space, and from Office Live Workspace - version control system. It is interesting to note that Windows Live Office will only work in conjunction with desktop Office 2010. And Office 2007, which works with Office Live Workspace will not be supported. Here's how the company encourages users to buy the new Office version. Office Live Small Business Service Office Live Small Business will not be changed or renamed with the release of Windows Live Wave 4 and Office 2010. This service allows small businesses to register own domain, create website (in visual designer) and email accounts for employees. These email accounts can be used to create Windows Live ID accounts and organize collaboration in Windows Live Office. I.e. this service can be compared to Google Apps for Your Domain with the difference that the Google Apps provides the single (centrally administrated) office space, and in Office Live Small Business each employee has his own office, that can be shared with others.Windows Live Sync FolderShare, the service for sharing files and Live Mesh, the service for syncing files between multiple computers, will merge into a single service called Windows Live Sync. It will synchronize files and folders between different devices and SkyDrive cloud storage(in particular, Windows Live Office). I.e. this tool allows you to get offline access to files and docs. In addition, it can be used to access your computer remotely.Windows Live Mail The new version of Windows Live Hotmail (which can also be called Office Live Mail, if account is created in Office Live) contains many improvements that make it closer to GMail: improved spam filter, full SSL session encryption, email threads, integrated chat (Windows Live Messneger), online attachments preview and editing (in Office Web Apps), preview videos in email, BlackBerry and Nokia support, ActiveSync support. In addition, Windows Live Mail has impressed all with max attachment size - 10 GB. The secret is that it will not send a file but a link to file in the sender SkyDrive storage.Windows Live Calendar Windows Live Calendar is not actually a separate service (like Google Calendar), but a part of Windows Live Hotmail. The most important upgrade of the new Windows Live Calendar - is ActiveSync support. In addition, the Windows Live Events service will closed in September, and force users to migrate to Windows Live Calendar.


2010. MS Office 2010 released. Time to upgrade to Google Docs



Today, Microsoft officially launched its Office 2010 for companies using the volume-licensing. For other companies and users the office suite will be available in June. The web-based version - Office Web Apps, that is the main new feature in Office 2010 and its main weapon in competition against Google Docs, will appear also in June. Google responded to the release in very original way - they used the fact that the main competitor to Office 2010 is actually not Google Docs, but Office 2007 (or 2003). The point is that why pay several hundred dollars for the new version of Office 2010 (+ Sharepoint 2010), if using Office 2007 in combination with Google Docs, you can get even more features at virtually no cost. Here is the comparison table, that was published in the Google Enterprise blog:   Google Docs + Office 2007/2003 Office 2010 Required user licenses Google Apps Office 2010 Sharepoint 2010 Sharepoint & Windows Cals Cost $50/user/year $499 (Office Professional) + Sharepoint 2010 + Windows Cals + server hardware Server software - Windows Server 2008, SQL Server Express, Sharepoint Server Server hardware - server 64bit, 8Gb RAM, 80Гб Datacenter replication included additional software and hardware required Store and share office documents in the Cloud yes Sharepoint 2010 required Real time collaboration on the web yes Excel only Real time collaboration in desktop applications soon (MS Office 2007, 2003 required) Sharepoint 2010 required. manual updates


2010. Facebook + MS Office Web = Docs.com



Today, Microsoft and Facebook opened the new service (+ Facebook app) Docs.com, which allows to store and display office documents on your Facebook profile and share them (for viewing and collaborative editing) with your friends, groups or all Facebook users. Documents can be viewed in the browser with the new viewer and edited with Office Web Applications. The online editors are still available only to beta testers, and their reviews are not very positive. But the point of the service is not in the editors but in Facebook integration. Will it be useful for business? At first glance, business-users will not use Facebook to collaborate on documents. But as a marketing channel to promote MS Office Web - it can work. Especially in light of the new Facebook plan, aimed to grab the Internet: This plan is based on the new API called Open Graph. This interface allows third-party applications and sites use public data from user Facebook profile: social connections, interests and messages. Thus, third-party services will be able to provide the user with a personalized interface based on his preferences (if he logged into Facebook). This means that a huge number of sites and services will support the Facebook authentication. R.I.P OpenID. In addition, Facebook wants to create the global recommendation system (from movies to vehicles) with the help of "Like" buttons, which other sites can embed on any page. Clicking this button, Facebook user creates a connection between himself and any object (e.g. his favorite restaurant on Yelp), and this connection (recommendation) becomes available on its Facebook-profile. Then, if someone search for restaurants on Facebook, he'll first see restaurants recommended by his friends. In addition, the site can install a plug-in displaying which Facebook users have recommends the given object. So Facebook wants to become the center of the Internet, connecting all the other sites. Still this role was played by Google.


2009. Microsoft starts free Web-based Office testing



At last (after the July announcement) Microsoft is opening web-based Office 2010  applications to beta-testers. The web Office will have a long official title: Microsoft Office Web Applications. As we already informed, it will be available in two editions: Free and Business. The business version will work on top of SharePoint 2010 (behind the firewall). And free version will work on top of the online file storage service  Windows Live SkyDrive (that provides 25Gb for free). Yesterday one thousand of SkyDrive happy users already got an access to online Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. And their reviews are quite different - from "awesome" to "tedious". Here are the most interesting points: The online Office applications functionality hardly excels the functionality of Google Docs (and all the more Zoho Docs). So our hope for full-featured rich Office was not realized. Online editors provide only basic functionality. For example, online Excel allows you to edit tables and cells, format text, filter and sort columns, but it can't build diagrams. Though, documents, created in the desktop editors are displayed in web Office applications with all the bells and whistles (that is what Google and Zoho can't do). Generally, Microsoft wants us to use online and desktop editors together. Any document in SkyDrive can be easily opened not only in the online Office, but also in the desktop editors. And after you edited the document using the desktop program it will be automatically updated on the web server. All new online Office applications can share files for collaboration. But only online Excel allows to work with a file together in real time. Besides, to be precise, you can share not single files, but only folders, that is not always suitable. Вut the good news is that the users that you invited to collaborate can edit and comment the document in browsers even if they don't have Live ID. Some beta testers complain that the online Office is quite slow, compared to Google Docs. One more disappointing point is that online Word and OneNote in the meantime can only display documents, but not edit them. Besides, there is no version for mobile devices. But Microsoft still has enough time to fix all these issues before the official launch, that is scheduled for the first half of 2010.