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Daily Debrief: 'Waiting for Godot,' Microsoft Office styleMicrosoft is bringing offline access to upcoming Office Web applications. Even though it's not yet around the corner, the capability is on its way. So how does it fit in with Microsoft's larger software ambitions? Ina Fried speaks with Charles Cooper...
[ Music ] ^M00:00:04 >> Charlie: If you've been waiting for Office Web apps from Microsoft Work Off-line you're gonna have to wait just a little bit longer. Welcome to the CNET News Daily Debrief, I'm Charlie Cooper here with my colleague CNET News' Ina Fried. So you've been speaking with Microsoft about their plans for upcoming Office Web applications, at least initially we're not going to see this work in off-line mode, why not? >> Ina: Well, I think Microsoft wants to continue selling Office as much as it can and certainly what ever they end up pricing these Web based versions of Office, whether they're free or subscription or ad supported, they're not gonna be the same kind of revenue Microsoft gets with Office and, ya know, I think they want to, ya know, have their cake and eat it too, as much as possible. So, one of the ways to differentiate them is that if you want to work off-line you're gonna need one of the regular versions of Office. So the Web based versions of Excel and Word and PowerPoint will work whenever you have an Internet connection but not say on an airplane. That's by in large been true of other on-line productivity programs but a bunch of them have at least indicated, and in some cases, actually offered and off-line mode, whether through Google Gears or something else. >> Charlie: Zoho as well. >> Ina: Yeah >> Charlie: So, what is the time frame they've been talking about bringing this technical capability to the market? >> Ina: So, technology previews sometime still this year so it's late November already so I'm guessing December, and then a final version sometime next year. >> Charlie: Okay, that's on the consumer front, on the enterprise front they have just introduced hosted versions of Exchange and Sharepoint, and you were at a customer event earlier in the week where they also talked a little bit more about their plans for hosted applications. >> Ina: Right, and Microsoft has been sort of testing this for a few years now with Energizer, the battery company, and what they've finally come to market with is an on-line version of Exchange and Sharepoint, basically, hosted in Microsoft's data centers, so businesses that don't want to have their own Exchange servers can just pay a monthly fee and get that directly from Microsoft. The big initial customers are Lotus Notes wishers so companies that don't have Exchange skills, trying to bring those in, rather than do that just buy it from Microsoft on a rental basis. >> Charlie: And how would they charge, per month, per usage? >> Ina: Per month, per user, so anywhere from $2.00 to $15.00 a month around, depending on what you're getting so you can get just Outlook Web access less than if you want full Outlook and Exchange access. >> Charlie: Great stuff, thanks. On behalf of CNET News, I'm Charlie Cooper. ^E00:02:40