Just when Valleywag has proclaimed that use of the Web 2.0 cliche is on the downswing, Microsoft publishes a whitepaper explaining how Office 2007 really is a Web 2.0 suite at heart.
A number of industry watchers think it's only a matter of time until Microsoft throws in the towel and turns Office into a Web-based suite. Microsoft officials have been adamant that such a move isn't likely in the foreseeable future -- although there's a distinct possibility that Microsoft could take its consumer Office suite, Microsoft Works, to the Web, in the not-so-distant future. In spite of Microsoft execs' continued belief that the shrink-wrapped Office suite is not dead, Microsoft isn't immune from wanting to cash in on the Web 2.0 hype.
Microsoft published the new whitepaper, entitled "Bringing Web 2.0 to the Enterprise with the 2007 Office System," in mid-December. Microsoft's definition of Web 2.0, predictably, isn't quite the same as others'. Here's how Microsoft is positioning Office 2007 to fit in:
"Properly understood and deployed, Web 2.0 technologies, methods, and patterns can be adopted by the enterprise to great effect. They can boost overall organizational productivity and create a much stronger customer and partner connection. To capitalize on this opportunity, enterprises require an agile infrastructure with the tools and out-of-the-box solutions that allow users to interact with content, applications, and people in powerful new ways."
Office 2007 "enables rich business solutions that embody the following set of Web 2.0 characteristics," the whitepaper continues:
• Rich user experience
• Data-driven architecture
• User-driven business applications
• User participation
• Collective intelligence
• Low cost deployment and management
What's Office 2007 got that qualifies? XML support; Ajax-based components (Excel Services and InfoPath Forms Services, Outlook Web Access, and Communicator Web Access); the ability to expose RSS feeds for data; enterprise search capabilities; metadata services; collaborative workspaces; and integrated workflow functionality -- something Microsoft admits isn't usually thought of as a Web 2.0 technology, but which is a Web 2.0 enabler, in Microsoft's view.
Meanwhile, I'm starting to hear some rumors about new features in "Office 14," the next version of Office, that sound more traditionally Web 2.0-like. Anyone else hearing any rumblings on that front?