Microsoft is set to release its Office 2010 software free on the internet next year.
The company says that 400 million subscribers to its Windows Live service will have access to Office 2010 web applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote at no extra cost. Which? has expert reviews of both paid-for and free Office software – from OpenOffice to Apple iWork.
The move is widely seen as an escalation in the rivalry between Microsoft and Google.
Google already offers its Docs office suite free online, including the ability to create documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Microsoft recently launched search engine Bing in a bid to take on Google which dominates the web search market.
Google has also announced the launch of an open-source rival to the Microsoft Windows operating system – Google Chrome OS – optimised to work on netbooks.
For more information on the latest software and operating systems, read reviews of Google Docs, iCloud, MS Office Live Workspace and TextFlow, plus a First Look preview of Windows 7.
Office 2010 – part of the cloud computing trend
Which? Computing researcher Andy Woodward said: ‘This is part of the ongoing trend in cloud computing where more functionality is available online rather than locally on your PC.
‘This has the advantage that you can access it from anywhere – as long as you have an internet connection. Both Microsoft and Google are keen to dominate this field.’
Microsoft announced Office 2010 at a conference in New Orleans, where it also said that an early version of the Office 2010 web applications (web-apps) would be tested by thousands of consumers later this year.
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