Microsoft Office Live 'Personal' Services: Microsoft Works revisited?

Microsoft Office Live 'Personal' Services: Microsoft Works revisited?

Summary: At the Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver, CEO Steve Ballmer said Microsoft plans to reposition its current family of Office Live products as "Office Live Small Business." It is doing this to make way for "more personal Office Live services," in Ballmer's words. So what will be part of this new personal Office Live line-up?

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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Microsoft has big hopes and plans for Office Live, its family of Web-based add-ons to Microsoft Office and SharePoint currently aimed at small- to mid-size business customers.

One way the Redmondians plan to grow the Office Live business is by expanding its stable of offerings both up and down market, as company officials said last year. It wasn't until this week, however, that Microsoft said more on that front.

At the Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver, CEO Steve Ballmer said Microsoft plans to reposition its current family of Office Live products as "Office Live Small Business." It is doing this to make way for "more personal Office Live services," in Ballmer's words.

What will be included in this "personal Office Live Services" line-up? Not surprisingly, the Office Live team isn't talking. A company spokeswoman provided me with the usual "there is nothing new to announce at this time" statement.

What if Microsoft were to introduce a Microsoft-hosted version of Microsoft Works, its low-end productivity suite, as an "Office Live"-branded product? Such an offering could be free and ad-supported or made available on a subscription basis, like a number of Microsoft's existing Office Live products already are. Or maybe Office Live personal services will be some kind of rebranding of Office Online content/templates/services....

(Meanwhile, Microsoft still has said nothing about its plans to introduce Office Live services for bigger customers.)

However it eventually fills in its Office Live gaps, Microsoft has some incredibly ambitious goals for this expanding set of services.

During his July 10 Worldwide Partner keynote, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner told conference attendees Microsoft believes in two to three years Office Live will be one of the most important product families for the company as a whole.

"We fully believe and expect in two or three years Office Live will be one of the most deployed, most utilized of all the products that we have in the Microsoft portfolio. Certainly it won't be as big as Windows in a couple of years, but we do believe it will reach our top three or four largest deployed applications that we have around the world. There's millions and millions of small businesses that we can reach, and we've got a big opportunity to drive it with Office Live, and there's a huge opportunity for you as partners to participate in it," Turner said.

What kinds of end-user Office services would you be interested in seeing Microsoft roll out?

Topic: Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Redmondians?

    Are the Redmondians one of those new tribes that can run gambling on their tree-lined campus? Do you have to be an enrolled member, or just FTE? Is it something like Scientology with Kool-Aid?
    TechHerding_com
  • Much more to the story..

    If the eye on MS is unblinking, perhaps you should cast it to the Window Marketplace.

    I'v been watching this unfold for over a year and frankly I see a rough road ahead for developers. Microsoft offers free web hosting for developers selling Windows/Office based products. All well and good, right? Well, maybe not.

    Using their hosting to sell software comes with some requirements. First, you agree to use Microsoft's payment processing, for a fee. Second, you agree to use Microsoft's registration API so that it is compatible with the new "digital locker" in Vista.

    If you have been involved at all with Visual Studios Orcas you know that publishing and deployment have been changed dramatically. Everything in Orcas is designed to publish to a web site using Click Once deployment. (It can be published in other ways but it requires a good deal more effort.) Care to take a gusss as to what web site is easiest to publish too?

    Microsoft is of course telling the world this is a "security feature" for users as anything sold on the site must meet Microsoft's requirements and MUST be signed with a digital certificate. It must also be compatible with Vista.

    What I see happening here is Microsoft becomes the broker for all the ISVs for both software and services and more importantly controls the distribution channel. Of course as they have all the information on their servers they know what products/services are selling and into which markets they sell well. A cynic might say that gives them the perfect view point to guage what products/services they should include in their own offerings.

    Users of course will buy from the Windows Marketplace for the sake of "security" and the fact Vista keeps track of their registrations in the Digital Locker. (As an ISV you can not place a key in the Digital Locker without going through Microsoft.)

    End result, do as Microsoft tells you or go out of business...
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • & the Monopolist continues .

      Is that what you are trying to tell me No-Ax ?
      I'm Ye, the MS SHILL .
      • If that was all you got from it...

        then. sigh....
        No_Ax_to_Grind