Microsoft Office Web Apps Gets Updated, Hits SaaS Milestone

Microsoft Office Web Apps Gets Updated, Hits SaaS Milestone

A Microsoft Windows Live Team blog entry says the free Office Web Apps suite of cloud productivity apps has hit a milestone with 20 million users at home and abroad. And to mark the occasion, Office Web Apps is getting a few new features, including mobile phone Excel spreadsheet viewing. Here’s the skinny.

The new features, as per that blog entry, include embeddable Excel and PowerPoint documents on your website and the aforementioned Excel spreadsheet viewing. The Live team also says that they’ve made smaller bug fixes and improvements across the board.

But what really caught my eye, new feature-wise, is an option to open a Skydrive-stored cloud document in the appropriate Microsoft Office application without any middleman. It’s not the functionality that gives pause, it’s the statistic that comes with it -- 90% of Office Web Apps documents are created in the legacy Office applications.

At first glance, Office Web Apps isn't a channel play. But enterprises can deploy Office Web Apps in private clouds, so we'll be watching to see if MSPs begin to assist enterprises with Office Web Apps deployments on private servers. Office Web Apps represents Microsoft’s most major consumer cloud effort to date, and their most head-on competition with Google Docs.

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