Microsoft Plans Updates to Office Web Apps

Android support and real-time collaborative editing are coming later this year.

In a blog post, Microsoft's Amanda Lefebvre announced some improvements the company hopes to make in its Office Web Apps later this year. Noteworthy new features will include Android support and real-time collaborative editing. Another Microsoft blog post stated that Microsoft will continue to sell boxed software in addition to the cloud versions—at least for now.

InformationWeek's Thomas Claburn reported, "Microsoft Office Web Apps, free online versions of the company's popular Office productivity applications, will soon support Google Chrome on Android tablets and will gain the same kind of real-time collaboration found in Google Apps."

Engadget's Alexis Santos added, "The OS titan also says it'll incorporate a range of other improvements, including simplified file management, shortening launch times and even a find and replace feature for the Word Web App."

ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley commented, "From an internal Microsoft roadmap I saw–which I believe to have been current as of early this year—the first wave of Microsoft's next Office Web App updates will be available around October 2013, as part of the Gemini 1 wave. Another set of updates to Office Web Apps will hit a year later, around October 2014 (Gemini 2). Gemini is the codename for the coming wave of Microsoft Office updates, the first of which will coincide roughly with Windows Blue. The Gemini 1 wave will include new Metro-Style/Windows Store versions of Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint, according to my sources, in addition to some of the Office Web Apps. Microsoft officials are not commenting on anything having to do with Gemini."

CNET's Jay Greene noted, "A day after Adobe Systems killed its Creative Suite software, moving instead to a Web-based subscription service, Microsoft said it would not follow suit with its Office suite of productivity applications--at least not yet. In a blog post Tuesday, Office spokesman Clint Patterson said that Microsoft, like Adobe, believes in the future of software-as-a-service, in part because the applications can be always up-to-date, and because subscribers can use the applications across a range of devices. 'However, unlike Adobe, we think people's shift from packaged software to subscription services will take time,' Patterson wrote."

Tags: Android, Microsoft, collaboration, Office Web Apps, real-time

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