Don’t panic: You’re desktop-based Office apps are still “good.” But now you can work in the cloud, too.
When it comes to the heavy lifting on your personal cloud—your office work, for example—Microsoft finally catches up with the competition, and not a moment too soon. Pundits wondered why rival Google had such a sizable head start, as well as why upstart Zoho, a Web-based Office alternative, snuck in the door. With the success of Windows 7 and Windows Live, though, Microsoft is firmly re-establishing itself as a premiere provider of productivity apps.
Once the spry rebel, Microsoft is now the consummate incumbent, and so, of course, it had a lot invested in the pre-cloud way of Office life. Microsoft had to make some tough choices before embracing the cloud as a way to deliver Office Web Apps. The bulk of Microsoft’s revenue comes from the sales of PC-based versions of Windows and Office. Unlike Google, which makes most of its money via online advertising, Microsoft needed to tread carefully as it moved into the cloud. As a result of its revenue model, Google is able to give away its operating system (Chrome) and apps, such as Gmail and Google Docs without threatening its bottom line.
For Microsoft, the danger is that Office Web Apps could cannibalize existing revenue sources. So, as Microsoft embraces the cloud, it’s doing everything in its power to make sure that the combination of desktop- and Web-based versions of Office delivers more value than either would on its own.
Let’s walk through the integration of Office 2010 with Office Web Apps to see if the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.
Getting Started with Office Web Apps
It’s been a long time since Office was introduced back in 1990. Now, a bit over 20 years later, a Web-based interface is a must. Fortunately, for those of you wedded to desktop versions of Office, the look and feel of Office Web Apps is consistent with its desktop forbearers. There are plenty of new features, but you won’t be overwhelmed as you sort through them.
Before you can test out Office Web Apps, the first thing you need is a Windows Live account, which many of you already have, by default, through Hotmail. If you don’t have an account, you can sign up for free at home.live.com.
Once you’ve logged in, click “Office” on the menu bar at the top of the screen. To create a new document, select “New” in the middle of the screen. To upload a file, click “Add Files,” which is just to the left of the “New” button. All in all, the process is very simple and intuitive.