Microsoft Office Web vs. Google Apps: A Key Difference
As Microsoft begins previewing Office Web, plenty of pundits are comparing the SaaS productivity suite to Google Apps. But for Microsoft’s channel partners, there’s one big difference between Office Web and Google Apps. Here’s the scoop.
Simply put, Google Apps is only hosted by Google. On the upside, that means Google manages and maintains the system for end-customers and VARs (yes, there’s a reseller program for Google Apps). But on the downside, VARs and end-customers may feel like they don’t really “control” the Google applications and related user documents.
In stark contrast, Microsoft will permit end customers to host Office Web on their own. But there’s a twist. During the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in July 2009, Microsoft stated:
“Office Web applications will be available in three ways: through Windows Live, where more than 400 million consumers will have access to Office Web applications at no cost; on-premises for all Office volume licensing customers including more than 90 million Office annuity customers; and via Microsoft Online Services, where customers will be able to purchase a subscription as part of a hosted offering.”
In other words, you need to be an Office 2010 volume licensing customer to host Office Web on your own.
Still, some questions remain:
- Will Microsoft allow VARs and managed service providers (MSPs) to host Office Web? So far, the answer is no but Microsoft insiders say the company has been looking at that possibility.
- Do end-customers really want to host Office Web? Or would they prefer to access the suite using Microsoft’s cloud? Here again, The VAR Guy is looking for more third-party thoughts.
What Is Office Web?
Microsoft positions Office Web as a “lightweight Web browser versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote.” All About Microsoft, a blog that tracks the software giant, offered up these 10 things you need to know about Office Web.
Microsoft began offering a technical preview of Office Web last week. The suite is expected to roll out next year as part of the Office 2010 launch.