Microsoft to put Works Suite onto Web

Microsoft to put Works Suite onto Web

Summary: In the clearest sign yet that the big guns are preparing to step up the battle for Web Office, Microsoft has said it is considering releasing a version of Microsoft Works (the poor cousin of Microsoft Office) as a web suite. The desktop version of Works retails for $50 and includes a calendar, word processor, spreadsheets, Web Browser and e-mail.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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676.jpgIn the clearest sign yet that the big guns are preparing to step up the battle for Web Office, Microsoft has said it is considering releasing a version of Microsoft Works (the poor cousin of Microsoft Office) as a web suite. The desktop version of Works retails for $50 and includes a calendar, word processor, spreadsheets, Web Browser and e-mail. While its currently positioned as a home productivity toolset (to do your accounts, write letters, etc), it could pretty easily be re-positioned as a (small) business web office suite.

In any case - because Works includes basic word processing and spreadsheet software, to web-enable that and bundle it as a suite would be a step above what both Microsoft and Google currently offer. Right now Microsoft has Office Live (web hosting, email, project collaboration) and Google offers Apps For Your Domain (email, IM, calendar and website creator).

Microsoft's planned web-based Works would be a free package, supported by advertising. As Reuters put it:

"[Microsoft] faces a growing pack of Web-based competitors -- led by Google -- that is offering similar [office] technology for free with a business model that makes money off advertising.

The world's largest software maker is now mulling how it can move Microsoft Works, a basic suite of business software that often comes preloaded on inexpensive consumer PCs, onto the Web as part of its growing stable of free online services."

I think this is a wise move by Microsoft to pre-empt Google's upcoming Web Office suite. It clearly won't affect sales of their flagship MS Office, as the functionality is much richer in the desktop version - even more so when Vista and Office 2007 are released. Works is very basic by comparision - but it does have word processing and spreadsheets.

On the other hand Google will probably easily trump a web-based Works, once they package up Writely and Google Spreadsheets into a proper suite. So far there have only been hints that Google will take that next step - perhaps they're still busy working on the business models for such a move.

All in all, things are starting to get interesting in the Web Office space. I wouldn't mind betting that Google pushes forward whatever secret plan they have for a full office suite, now that Microsoft has made noises about webifying word processing and spreadsheets.

See also: Web Office will be much different than Microsoft Office, Google Office: a close-up look and image gallery of Google office apps.

Topic: Microsoft

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  • Interpreting the Reuters article

    Personally I think all this talk about "web-based MS Works" is pure speculation. The Reuters article doesn't really say that the suite would be web-based. Just that it would be ad-funded and web-delivered. Think of Live Messenger or Live Mail Desktop. These are fully-functional, Internet-connected, ad-funded applications, and they're not web-based. (Though LMD does have a web-based version.) I think that this route (adding ads to a downloadable application) is the route they'd take. Why would users want to contain all their stuff in a web browser when they can download an app instead? Plus, look at how many people use the app versions of IM apps, compared to using the web-based versions.

    Plus, it's interesting how your phrase "Microsoft... is considering releasing a version of Microsoft Works (the poor cousin of Microsoft Office) as a web suite" gets translated into the blog headline "Microsoft *to put* Works Suite onto Web." The headline is much to certain, while the truth is, MS is only *considering* such a move.
    PB_z
  • Where's the market for Works...

    ... once the cheap Home edition of Office is issued?

    Microsoft has had trouble with maintaining Works, which may be considered primarily a way to turn recipes into a data base and prepare shopping lists, into a standalone product.
    One example is the inclusion of a version of Word with Works.

    People are getting more sophisticated in their demands on home applications, and this is good for Office sales, but makes Works obsolete.

    Expect to see recipes and shopping lists on the web. But don't expect to see an Office competitor.
    Anton Philidor
    • Strip The "Gimmicks" Outta Office...

      ...& U Got Writely: http://www.writely.com/

      Google Spreadsheets, TOO!!!

      http://spreadsheets.google.com/

      ONLINE!!!

      We Use It For a SERIOUS Construction Project (Building a New Home), More Than "...recipes and shopping lists on the web...", Dude!

      ...& It *Works* GREAT!!!

      I LOVE IT!!!

      Can't Wait To Test Microsofts' Offering, ALSO!!!

      Aloha!

      ;-)
      TheViewMaster
    • Market for Works

      The traditional market for Works is those people who want Word without paying for Office. The rest of the apps hardly get used ;-)
      TonyMcS
  • What Doc formats can it handle?

    And can any other programs handle its format?
    barstewards
  • MS Works

    If MS produces an online version of Works for the web, it will have at least one upside: they will finally have found a use for MS Works. does anyone still use this toy? New PC's always come with a free version of it, but does anyone actually bother to install it?
    tassie_devil
  • RE: Microsoft to put Works Suite onto Web

    I would switch to MS office if I could figure out how to transfer my files from works database and spreadsheet. Maybe this online deal would help me figure this out.
    bihow