Scoble posted a video interview yesterday with a couple managers from the Office Live Workspaces (OLW) team – they talk about the service, the future of the service, and walk us through a demo. Microsoft announced the BETA for (OLW) yesterday. Sign-up here if you’re in to this kind of thing – Windows Live ID required. Personally, I have very little need for a service like OLW.
Office Live Workspaces is an improvement over previous versions of Office Live which were more small business oriented and very SharePoint like but the service has a huge anchor tied to it – it requires Microsoft Office.
I have multiple copies of Office 2003 and 2007 so I’m by no means an Office hater but I use Word and Excel less and less as the months pass. Instead, I’m using services like Google DOCS and Google Calendar more and more. Why? Primarily, because I can access the services from almost anywhere without any system requirements other than a decent internet connection and a browser. Access from anywhere is important to me because I use multiple computers on a daily basis – I simply can’t afford to spend time keeping client-side software current on all these machines.
Collaborative functionality is another major reason why I’m using services like Google DOCS more and more. If I need to collaborate on a document with a team, I’m going to use Google DOCS. I’m done passing Word and Excel files around in e-mail – constantly trying to track changes and a mess of files with files names that get more and more creative as the collaborative process continues.
Microsoft is losing the ability to provide me with products that work the way I want to work. I understand why they have to protect Office – it’s a cash cow and all that – but that huge anchor is going to really screw them up in the long-term if they can’t put it down and move Office forward at a faster pace and in a revolutionary as opposed to evolutionary way. How hard would it really be for Microsoft to offer the Office suite as 100% web-based solution? I’d pay for that and they’d probably get more out of me over the years than they do currently for Office.
Office Live has been in the works for two years – a good decisive strategic decision to make Office available in the cloud two years ago would have Microsoft in a better position today. Make the decision and implement guys before it’s too late. Office Live Workspaces – Snore.