Microsoft quietly turns on free version of Office Web Apps

Microsoft officials said last month to expect the free, consumer version of Office Web Apps to go live starting June 15. Microsoft, instead, turned on the Webified versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote on June 7.

Microsoft officials said last month to expect the free, consumer version of Office Web Apps to go live starting June 15. Microsoft, instead, turned on the Webified versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote on June 7.

Individuals with Windows Live SkyDrive accounts saw Office Web Apps can now share, view and do some light editing with these Webified apps in their browsers (Internet Explorer 7 or later for Windows; Safari 4 or later for Mac; and Firefox 3.5 or later for Windows, Mac, or Linux). My understanding is users won't be able to share, view and edit Office Web Apps via Hotmail until June 15, the Windows Live Wave 4 (beta?) version of which is supposed to begin rolling out to the public as of June 15.

June 15, by the way, is the day that Office 2010 goes on sale via retail and is available to consumers preloaded on new machines. Microsoft is holding a retail launch event in New York City to commemorate the occasion.

Microsoft launched the paid, SharePoint-dependent version of Office Web Apps for business customers in early May.

Microsoft noted the launch of the free Office Web Apps via a blog post on the Inside Windows Live blog. The new Web-based apps are available to everyone in the U.S., UK, Canada and Ireland this week. To use Office Web Apps, users can access them via the Office.live.com site. Those outside the targeted launch countries can get access to the final versions (though maybe not in their preferred languages yet), by going to the Office.live.com site, as well.