Many of you probably know about Office Online. But, a lot of people don’t. A significant number of people think of Google Docs as the only free online option, and this has been partly Microsoft’s fault. They have placed all their emphasis on Office for the desktop, which is understandable as it makes them a boat-load of money. Lately, however, Microsoft has started changing that strategy.
You can now find a link to ‘Office Online’ on the top bar of Bing. Clicking this will take you to the Office Online homepage, with a Modern UI-type block of tiles. This gives you easy access to the Word, Outlook.com, People, OneNote, PowerPoint, Calendar, Excel, and OneDrive web apps.
The new MSN.com preview takes the integration a step further. In the top bar, there is an ‘Office’ menu. If you hover over this you can see three of your recent documents and tiles linking to the Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote web apps. Next to the ‘Office’ tab, you will see similar ones for OneNote and OneDrive. Hovering over the OneNote tab allows you to see three of your recent notebooks and a link to create a quick note. The OneDrive tab provides easy access to your documents and photos.
Microsoft is stuck at an uncomfortable place with its online web apps. If people really enjoy them, then some won’t buy the $100+ desktop editions. If Microsoft doesn’t promote them, consumers that only need minimal editing tools will be drawn to Google Docs. Personally, I feel it is enviable that consumers without major editing needs will gravitate towards free alternatives, and Microsoft needs to make Office Online a popular choice for the health of their PC and mobile ecosystem.Further reading: Bing, Microsoft, MSN, Office