SOFTWARE LEASING FIRM Microsoft has relaunched the online version of its Microsoft Office productivity suite in an attempt to stem the tide of apathy surrounding it.
In a blog post today it explained, "We also know that many of the one billion Office users haven't tried [Office Web Apps]," and in an attempt to turn the tide has revealed a radical overhaul by changing the name.
Microsoft Office Online, as the product is now called, is designed to clear up a perceived misapprehension that they are actual apps to be installed, with the hope that calling them Office Online instead will make people realise that in fact they are a version of Microsoft Office, except online.
With the success of Google Docs, which is now incorporated into Google Drive, it seemed natural that Microsoft would want to emulate its popularity, and it has opened a portal at Office.com in addition to interfaces via the newly renamed Onedrive and existing Sharepoint environments.
Microsoft introduced co-authoring as part of the Onedrive launch yesterday, allowing users to work collaboratively on documents, similar to Google Docs.
The rise in popularity of open source alternatives to the once dominant Microsoft Office along with the appearance of web based options has made it harder in recent years for Microsoft to justify the high cost of the productivity suite, and a move to an online edition reflects a recognition that for the casual user the lure of cheaper alternatives is becoming stronger.
Also included in the new Microsoft Office Online interface is an app switcher allowing users to flip between different Microsoft Office applications at the click of a dropdown menu.
How innovative. µ
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