ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley has apparently learned that Microsoft’s online alternative to Google Docs will emerge from beta before the end of this year. Office Live Workspace is a service that is geared to work as either a standalone product, or in tandem with Office 2003-2007. It has been suggested that the current public beta is fairly close to the final version, and the primary issue outstanding is language support. Microsoft wishes to expand the 11 languages it currently supports to 37 before it officially lifts the beta tag later this year. Spokesmen Kirk Gregersen from Microsoft has also reportedly commented on the surprising trends they have identified during the public beta. It was originally assumed that casual users such as students would use Live Workspace as a means to author and remotely access documents. Instead, the service is being used mostly as a single access point for collaborative efforts involving multiple users. Insiders have suggested that this only further demonstrates why desktop versions of Microsoft Office won’t be leaving us anytime soon.
For those who haven’t been following the development of Office Live Workspace, hit the jump to learn more about the services currently being offered.
Google Apps might be a dwarf compared to its rival Microsoft Office but it is making steady progress. It has finally made a stride of some significance by making it to 1 million enterprise users. The company claims to be successfully wooing 3,000 businesses to Google Apps everyday. However, it is certain that a significant chunk of its users are using the free version; the Premium version carries an annual subscription fee of $50.
Google Apps’ contribution to Google’s annual income was a paltry $4 million in 2007, and not a whole lot should change in the foreseeable future. Not that Google would be banking on a miraculous turnaround, as its product currently doesn’t even deserve to feature in the same sentence as Microsoft Office – at least going by the economics of magnitude. Google seems to be aiming for a ponderous victory over Microsoft.
Google has launched a video sharing service for business users as part of its Google Apps bouquet. You might think that this would certainly have an edge over Youtube. But the only major difference between this video sharing service and Youtube is exclusivity: only those with necessary permission will be able to view the videos unlike Youtube. There is a cap on the size of videos with paid users only allowed up to 300MB per video and 3GB in all.
Do not mistake this for a video conferencing service, for this is certainly not intended to be one. The video sharing service is now part of the Google Apps package for which users have to pay $50 a year. A free version of Google Apps sans APIs and customer supports is also available.