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Microsoft launches Office Live Workspace Beta

Live Office

Another Web service is added to Microsoft’s already long list of .Net integrated services with the brand “Live” applications.

After brow-beating Google Apps, Microsoft unveils Tools on the Web, which is basically a number of services from within the Office XP program similar to services already on Microsoft’s Web site. Sounds confusing? Just think of it as Microsoft’s version of Google Apps–for now.

Office Live Workspace will give users about 250 megabytes of storage, or room to keep about 1,000 average Office documents “in the cloud.” PC users can upload Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, and use the site to e-mail friends or colleagues and invite them to read and add comments to those documents through a Web browser. It’s sort of like blogging but on MS Office and with your Live ID.

However these of Office services aren’t standalone versions. If you need to edit any of them, you need to open the document using an installed copy of Microsoft Office.

As you can see, this is not a “Google Docs killer” or even an “answer” to Google Docs. This is not an online office suite, it’s “software plus service.” Microsoft’s move here protects the company’s traditional Office business, in that it’s really positioned as a value-add to Office, rather than an Office alternative. Microsoft has seen success with its business-oriented SharePoint offering, and Microsoft is taking a kind of “SharePoint Lite” approach with OLW.

Office Live Workspace taps into a few of Microsoft’s Web offerings. Users with Hotmail, Xbox Live and/or other Microsoft (simply put you just need a Live ID)accounts can use that information to log on to Workspace. Once there, they can use their stored contact list to send invitations.

The service is compatible with Office 2003 and Office 2007, and users will be able to save from Office to the Web site and open files they’ve stored online.

If you browse a bit in the office website, you’ll notice several references to Office Live not Office Live Workspace which is a different service all together. Office Live Small Business or Office Live for short, is a set of tools Microsoft first developed to help small businesses build Web sites and manage online advertising campaigns.

You can read more on Live office via PCAdvisor and PC World.

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