The Microsoft Office 365 team recently announced some upcoming changes in the Office Web Apps in Office 365. The announcements were intended to set the scene on what is being worked on over the next 12-18 months.
Here’s the list:
– Incorporating more Office features in Office Web Apps.
– Making the online experience better. Eg., faster, adding find and replace in the Word Web App.
– Office Web Apps currently run on Windows 8 tablets and iPads. The team is going to add support for Android tablets by supporting the Chrome browser.
– Real-time co-authoring in Office Web Apps, so all authors can see presence and edits in real time without having to refresh. The short movie above shows what will be – using the PowerPoint Web App as the example.
It is great to see the direction the Office 365 team is working to, and I look forward to seeing these directional items come to fruition. Office has a huge footprint in the world, and while some firms are giving it up in preference for newer online applications, there will be ongoing strong demand for Office both on-premise and in the cloud. Microsoft struggled for many years to add new capabilities to its Office franchise that gave users / enterprises enough reasons to upgrade to the latest editions, but I think they are cracking the nut with improvements such as the ones above – especially for the new way of working on documents together with real-time co-authoring. Clearly that’s not a situation that will resonate all the time for all people, but having those capabilities seamlessly integrated is much better than being forced to use something else or something suboptimal. Some of my clients are really keen on the concept of real-time co-authoring, because the dynamics involved in multiple people working on different versions of a document shared around by email is just broken. You can’t get any better by improving the current process; you have to re-think / re-imagine it.
So Microsoft … keep going. You might yet tempt me to buy a Windows Surface Pro and try this out in all its Microsoft glory.