Microsoft brings collaboration to Office

Today Microsoft is announcing a beta of Office Live Workspaces (you have to sign up to get access to the beta), which brings a lot of the advantages of Zoho or Google Docs/Spreadsheets to the Office Suite most of us use. Here’s a video where they explain the new service to me.

This is very impressive and takes Office Live a LOT closer to the online office suite that we all are hoping Microsoft brings us. It also demonstrates that Microsoft is going to defend its Office cash cow from newcomers like Zoho and Google Docs/Spreadsheets.

What do you think? Are you as impressed as I was?

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Comments

  1. This certainly looks very promising – thanks for sharing with us Robert.

    I liked the way they’ve approached the Office document version history issue, and I like the Comments, and Share View (Share Screen) functions – those are nice. Task Lists synced with Outlook looked handy too!

    I think how much available server space, and how the service is offered will directly effect how successful it will be…(so it will be curious to see what Microsoft will offer).

    Slightly aside comment: At over 30 minutes long, anyone wanting to watch this movie clip needs to make some time to sit through and watch it (tip to anyone reading this: the on-screen demo starts about 9 minutes in…if you want to skip ahead to that part).

    Also: Is it just me – or does Kirk look a lot like Bill Gates?! ;)

  2. This certainly looks very promising – thanks for sharing with us Robert.

    I liked the way they’ve approached the Office document version history issue, and I like the Comments, and Share View (Share Screen) functions – those are nice. Task Lists synced with Outlook looked handy too!

    I think how much available server space, and how the service is offered will directly effect how successful it will be…(so it will be curious to see what Microsoft will offer).

    Slightly aside comment: At over 30 minutes long, anyone wanting to watch this movie clip needs to make some time to sit through and watch it (tip to anyone reading this: the on-screen demo starts about 9 minutes in…if you want to skip ahead to that part).

    Also: Is it just me – or does Kirk look a lot like Bill Gates?! ;)

  3. Well, the first thing I think is that the Directors are getting younger and younger.

    As someone who has been forced to try to do things like this with SharePoint (*TTOTD) I’m glad to see that MS is considering heading in another direction. Yes, there is a need for collaboration in organizations.

    I have to say that the big problem I’ve always faced is more social engineering than software engineering. I’d create a pretty sharing site, populated it with documents, and asked the team to contribute. Here’s what I got:

    First Person: No response at all
    Second Person: 500 very detailed copy edits
    Third Person: 100 comments, all in the form of a question
    Fourth Person: Serial emails saying they didn’t have time to look at it, right now
    Fifth Person: Complaint that they couldn’t access the doc
    Sixth Person: Complaint that someone else had the doc locked
    Seventh Person: Sent the doc to me as an attachment, with their comments, because they couldn’t open it.

    I’ve been playing with wikis for this, and (despite much more limited editing capability) it seems to work better.

    At the end of the day, I’m not sure I want to be the one who tries to integrate detailed comments and changes from 50 people. Maybe someone needs to take responsibility of ownership of a document, because they’re the best one to do it.

    What a concept.

  4. Well, the first thing I think is that the Directors are getting younger and younger.

    As someone who has been forced to try to do things like this with SharePoint (*TTOTD) I’m glad to see that MS is considering heading in another direction. Yes, there is a need for collaboration in organizations.

    I have to say that the big problem I’ve always faced is more social engineering than software engineering. I’d create a pretty sharing site, populated it with documents, and asked the team to contribute. Here’s what I got:

    First Person: No response at all
    Second Person: 500 very detailed copy edits
    Third Person: 100 comments, all in the form of a question
    Fourth Person: Serial emails saying they didn’t have time to look at it, right now
    Fifth Person: Complaint that they couldn’t access the doc
    Sixth Person: Complaint that someone else had the doc locked
    Seventh Person: Sent the doc to me as an attachment, with their comments, because they couldn’t open it.

    I’ve been playing with wikis for this, and (despite much more limited editing capability) it seems to work better.

    At the end of the day, I’m not sure I want to be the one who tries to integrate detailed comments and changes from 50 people. Maybe someone needs to take responsibility of ownership of a document, because they’re the best one to do it.

    What a concept.

  5. Is it possible for MS to allow people to have workspace data stored on their own Windows servers (including Windows Home Servers), yet take advantage of the service? I believe there are a lot of paranoid people out there who would love to use the service, but do not want their data to be stored on someone else’s servers.

  6. Is it possible for MS to allow people to have workspace data stored on their own Windows servers (including Windows Home Servers), yet take advantage of the service? I believe there are a lot of paranoid people out there who would love to use the service, but do not want their data to be stored on someone else’s servers.

  7. My company and the majority of companies are using Microsoft Office in the basic version. Main programs are Word, Excell, Power Point. I think that what has made, Microsoft did won’t take the market over. Greetings.

  8. My company and the majority of companies are using Microsoft Office in the basic version. Main programs are Word, Excell, Power Point. I think that what has made, Microsoft did won’t take the market over. Greetings.

  9. I’ve signed up for the beta, but haven’t kicked all the tires yet. Thanks for the overview, Robert. Nit about the video — volume on you was too low.

  10. I’ve signed up for the beta, but haven’t kicked all the tires yet. Thanks for the overview, Robert. Nit about the video — volume on you was too low.

  11. I don’t think that Microsoft is going to offer something similar to Google Docs, as it should give up the Office cash cow. With Google Docs you can create a document and then edit it, with Office Live Workspaces you can only share documents, but to create and edit them you need Office. A product outrageously expensive in comparison with the competing products in the market.

  12. I don’t think that Microsoft is going to offer something similar to Google Docs, as it should give up the Office cash cow. With Google Docs you can create a document and then edit it, with Office Live Workspaces you can only share documents, but to create and edit them you need Office. A product outrageously expensive in comparison with the competing products in the market.

  13. “To use Microsoft Office Live, your computer must meet one of the following requirements:

    * Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or later, running on Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows Server 2003. You can download the latest version of Internet Explorer from the Windows Internet Explorer page.”

    So sad. It won’t run on my Linux machine. I guess the Microsoft programmers just can’t figure out how to do this huh? Well, I have some Windows serial-reinstalling friends who can try it out for me. Keeping their stuff online will definitely be an improvement from having to do almost as many restores as they do backups.

  14. “To use Microsoft Office Live, your computer must meet one of the following requirements:

    * Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or later, running on Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows Server 2003. You can download the latest version of Internet Explorer from the Windows Internet Explorer page.”

    So sad. It won’t run on my Linux machine. I guess the Microsoft programmers just can’t figure out how to do this huh? Well, I have some Windows serial-reinstalling friends who can try it out for me. Keeping their stuff online will definitely be an improvement from having to do almost as many restores as they do backups.

  15. I just started to try it out, and while the Office add-in doesn’t work as smoothly as I’d like (yet), it seems promising. It’s not quite as elegant as Google Docs, but at first glance it seems significantly more powerful in that it better harnesses the capabilities of the Office clients.

    The browser is great for a lot of lightweight stuff, but at a certain point it just becomes restrictive. Folks shouldn’t feel like they need to be bringing everything into the browser these days–I think there’s a lot to be gained by bringing the internet out of the browser. Which, of course, we’re starting to see in a lot more places.

  16. I just started to try it out, and while the Office add-in doesn’t work as smoothly as I’d like (yet), it seems promising. It’s not quite as elegant as Google Docs, but at first glance it seems significantly more powerful in that it better harnesses the capabilities of the Office clients.

    The browser is great for a lot of lightweight stuff, but at a certain point it just becomes restrictive. Folks shouldn’t feel like they need to be bringing everything into the browser these days–I think there’s a lot to be gained by bringing the internet out of the browser. Which, of course, we’re starting to see in a lot more places.

  17. That’s impressive! Anyway, currently I using google Docs, and is pretty easy, free and friendly user, so I will think twice if I switch back to Microsoft office.

  18. That’s impressive! Anyway, currently I using google Docs, and is pretty easy, free and friendly user, so I will think twice if I switch back to Microsoft office.