Microsoft confirms that only business customers will get the browser-based online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote when Office 2010 launches in May.
Despite touting its browser-based Office Web Apps as “a key part of our vision for Office 2010” the lightweight online editions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote will not be available to consumers when Microsoft’s next-gen suite hits general release in June.
At an Office 2010 briefing held today at Microsoft’s Australian HQ, senior product manager Reed Shaffner told APC that Office Web Apps would not be immediately available to Office 2010’s consumer customers at launch.
Business customers who have access to the suite from May 13th will be able to run Web Apps on a local or hosted SharePoint Server. But consumer editions of the suite will rely on Windows Live for hosting, which will not be ready for the broad public release of Office 2010 in June.
“(Office Web Apps) will be available when Windows Live ships their next version, Wave 4, but we don’t know when that will be” Shaffner said, stressing that Microsoft “never made the decision” to deliver its Web Apps at the same time as Office 2010.
“Obviously we want to get as close to Office 2010 as we can, because we do think of the Web Apps as the core of the Office experience… but we’ll look into what is the best way to ship and innovate on that platform”.
Office 2010 Web Apps like this lightweight version of Excel will ship sometime after the suite makes its debut in May
When the Web Apps do arrive, Shaffner says they’ll run equally as well on Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.
“The experience is best if you can run Silverlight for viewing the Word and PowerPoint apps, however the Web Apps will run the exact same way across Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox because we just use a combination of HTML, Java and some AJAX controls. We can replicate the same experience across a number of platforms because there’s nothing that’s platform-dependent – you can even look at a PowerPoint broadcast on an iPhone.”
The Office 2010 Web Apps will be hosted by Microsoft through Windows Live and the SkyDrive storage, with business customers also able to host the apps on SharePoint Server.Update: based on further information from Microsoft, this article has been updated to clarify that business customers will have access to Web Apps hosted on a SharePoint Server from the business release of Office 2010 in May.