Will Office Web Apps overcome cloud biases?

Yesterday, I asked if the Feds don't need Office, do we? In particular, though, I was really talking about how wedded people are to having an Office suite (possibly OpenOffice, but usually Office 2003 or 2007) actually sitting on their desktop.

Yesterday, I asked if the Feds don't need Office, do we? In particular, though, I was really talking about how wedded people are to having an Office suite (possibly OpenOffice, but usually Office 2003 or 2007) actually sitting on their desktop.

Not too long after I'd posted this, though, I received a note from a contact at Microsoft, giving me access to the technical preview of Office 2010 Web Apps. I've been really looking forward to pitting the web suite head-to-head against Google Apps since GAPE (Google Apps for Education) is right up there with sliced bread in my book. While I'll do that this weekend, my very first impression was that Office Web Apps looked a lot like Office.

This isn't a selling point for me, but I have to wonder if it really will be for people accustomed to Office. Will all of the people unwilling to jump into the cloud because they've always had Office on their machines (even if they only use a fraction of its features) suddenly be willing to work in their browser and access their productivity suite that way?

Biases against cloud computing run deep, both among people who actually know what it is and among those who are just seeing services like Google Apps for the first time. In this case, the "But it isn't Office" argument runs deep, especially in the latter group.

I'll be curious to see if the familiar look and feel of Web Apps can overcome some of those biases. Check back for a lot more coverage of Microsoft's and Google's forays into this market.