In advance of the announcement later today, I Started Something have uncovered videos about the new Microsoft Office suite.
Microsoft Office turns to the web
As anticipated, Office 2010 includes web-based versions of applications contained in the suite. These don’t have the complete feature set, but are designed so that company employees can create and make changes to documents (including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations) on the road.
Web applications: now running in the enterprise
Centralized cloud applications have a difficult time gaining traction in most enterprise environments, and Microsoft have wisely taken note of this: it appears that the web-based versions are installed as part of Sharepoint. By doing this, they’ve allowed organizations to keep tight control of their data, as well as legitimizing web-based applications in the enterprise and revitalizing Sharepoint as an organizational product. In other words this is big news, with sweeping implications across the entire software industry.
Open standards must work for everyone
This is another reason why all open web standards must be browser agnostic. I always argue hard for a transparent browser: one that contains support for web standards, but doesn’t carry any extra baggage for any specific purpose. As web applications move into the enterprise, it’s important that a standard that works on a souped-up Firefox or Chrome browser also works great in Internet Explorer. By integrating web applications into Sharepoint, Microsoft are actually leading the industry, and have made themselves relevant on the web again. In doing so, they’ve opened up an important market, and that can’t be ignored.
Here’s a video introduction (although it keeps going down for me): See What’s New in Microsoft Web Applications 2010.