With the release of Office 2010 and Sharepoint 2010 this week, Microsoft officially puts its cloud-based application strategy into play. The cloud is poised for "hockey stick" growth, CEO Steve Ballmer told InformationWeek editors in an interview last month.
Google released upgrades of Google Documents and Google Spreadsheets in April. Plans for its recently acquired DocVerse are in the works. Now the battle for Web-based productivity apps is on.
The browser-based versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint keep Office 2010 relevant beyond the desktop. The latest version of the software suite promises different features based on how people use it on the PC, in a Web browser, and on a smartphone.
In fact, Microsoft is offering Mobile 2010 as a free upgrade from its Windows Phone Marketplace for all Windows Mobile 6.5 users who own a previous version of Office Mobile. Office Mobile 2010 includes new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and SharePoint Workspace.
Office 10 is packed full of features including Web app versions of Office apps, PowerPoint Broadcast, enhancements to Outlook's message management, and overall user interface improvements. Take a visual walkthrough in this slideshow.
Sharepoint 2010, reviewed here, delivers better business intelligence, new social networking features, and two-way application-integration options. Sharepoint 2010 is packed with plenty of new nuggets, as this image gallery shows. For the lowdown on its integrated BI capabilities, view this video.
The user experience has also been significantly refreshed. There is now full support in Sharepoint 2010 for Firefox and Safari browsers and for Safari, Nokia, and BlackBerry mobile browsers. For a look at the improved UI, view this video.
For Microsoft, any deal, whether it's Office 10 running in Microsoft's data center, in a private cloud, or on individual desktops, is a foot in the enterprise door -- an opportunity to pitch SQL Server, Exchange, Azure, and the Windows Phone 7mobile platform. For some background on Microsoft's march to the cloud, read about the conversation with Gates and Ballmer that sparked the strategy behind it.
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