In a strange and frankly pathetic move on behalf of Microsoft, the Home and Student edition of the next generation of the Microsoft Office suite will not include Office Web Apps.
According to the documentation just released on the Microsoft website, looking through the editions available, Home and Student includes the same applications as Office 2007 but without the Office Web Apps function.
From inspecting the product documentation, Office 2010 Standard and Office 2010 Professional Plus will be providing Office Web Applications licenses.
There is limited access to the Microsoft Office Web Apps, which has been confirmed as the final name for the web applications, through SkyDrive at the moment. Only beta testers with Office 2010 access will be able to use the online office suite.
Office Web Apps seems to be running through SkyDrive rather than a separate service. Users can connect Office already to their Office WorkSpaces which may or may not interlink with SkyDrive, to then access their documents through the web interface.
The limited technical preview will open up the Word Web App, Excel Web App and PowerPoint Web App (as they are now officially known as), and the OneNote Web App will be added soon after. The simple reason is that it is not ready yet.
Support is being provided to Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari users; browsers which support the Silverlight software which is used to render the web applications.
What is interesting, however, is the wording of the answer to their self-provided question:
Are Office Web Apps free? What are the different ways people can get them? For business use, Office Professional Plus and Office Standard 2010 licenses will each include access to the Office Web Apps. A customer will then be able to run the Office Web Apps on SharePoint 2010. For personal use, Office Web Apps will be available as a free ad-supported service to consumers via Windows Live.
So while the Office Web Apps will still be available for use but will be paid-for by advertisements displayed on the screen.
Live@edu users will be given access to Office Web Apps "soon", according to Microsoft. The reason they get access before anybody else is explained in my previous post.
- Read more: What Office Web Apps will and won't do (Ed Bott)
- Read more: Do you really need Office? Really? (Chris Dawson)
- Read more: 10 things to know about Office Web Apps (Mary Jo Foley)
Update: after digging deeper into this, it does seem that though Office 2010 Home and Student will exclude Office Web Apps, the online suite of applications are designed more for the corporate environment - including universities.
Everyone, including students, will still have access to the Office Web Apps for free. The only difference is how they are delivered to the end user. It will be either through Windows Live - for consumers - or through SharePoint - for enterprises. The SharePoint interface will have no advertisements whereas the consumer view in Windows Live will be advert supported.
Again, Live@edu users will still have access through their university networks. However if universities and colleges opt to roll out the more enterprise based Office suite to their client machines, students will have access to Office Web Apps available over the Internet but will be hosted internally.
Internally-hosted Office Web Apps allows integration with existing university network logins, whereas Windows Live will not (Live@edusupports local Active Directory integration). It will also include backup and restore features and groupings for organisation in true SharePoint style.
It is therefore up to the educational establishment to consider Office Web Apps for its users - the students - as opposed to the students buying a copy of Home and Student and having instant access to the web applications.
They still haven't included Outlook in the Home and Student edition. This is something that still grates me but something that will probably never change.