LOS ANGELES--After years of questioning the value of Net-based productivity applications, Microsoft confirmed Tuesday that it will offer new versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint that can run from within a standard Web browser.
As first reported by CNET News last week , Microsoft will use its Professional Developer Conference here to show off browser-based versions of its Office programs.
In an interview, Microsoft Business Division President Stephen Elop said that the browser-based editing capabilities are being developed in conjunction with the next version of Office, known as Office 14. Microsoft won't say when that version will arrive, but Elop said that a technology preview of the browser-based products will come later this year and that a beta version will be released in 2009.
Microsoft will offer browser-based Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in two ways. For consumers, they will be offered via Microsoft's Office Live Web site, while businesses will be able to offer browser-based Office capabilities through Microsoft's SharePoint Server product.
The company has been pushed into this arena by Google, which has been offering its free Google Apps programs for some time. In competing with Google, Microsoft is touting the ability to use Microsoft's familiar user interface, as well as the fact that all of the document's characteristics are preserved.
"If you go into some competitive products right now and take a Word document in and then spit it out afterword, it's unrecognizable," Elop said. "You lose a lot of fidelity.
Elop said that not all of the editing capabilities of the desktop products are in the browser versions. "The editing we are characterizing as lightweight editing," he said.
Although Google Apps has seen most of its popularity among consumers, it has started to attract attention from corporate customers. Google Apps got a strong look from Procter & Gamble, which only decided to stick with Office after a strong push from Microsoft. Part of that pitch, Elop said, included Microsoft offering details on its plans for the Web-based versions of the Office programs.
"This was part of the conversation, absolutely," Elop said. "We have been sharing with customers under varying circumstances to a greater or lesser extent."
Although he didn't name names, Elop said Microsoft has found itself in a competitive situation with Google in other business accounts as well.
The chatter for a July price chop gets louder.
With Metal Gear Solid 4 finally available for the PlayStation 3, it doesn't take a genius to predict that the PS3 is going to get a boost from having a hit console-exclusive title under its belt. Nevertheless, analysts are boldly proclaiming change is asunder. Sony's got the Big Mo--as in momentum--while Microsoft's got the big Slo--as in demand for its Xbox 360 is slowing down. Which inevitably means the price-cut rumors are getting the Big Sto--as in stoke those flames, baby.
Joystiq is reporting that EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich, "Believes the PS3 is going to keep increasing its sales and Microsoft will announce a price cut for the Xbox 360 at E3" next month. And in another shocker, Divnich, "Foresees the PS3 gaining momentum and claims Metal Gear Solid 4 will actually have a greater impact on the console's hardware sales than Grand Theft Auto IV did." God, these guys are good.
The post goes on to note that the "Xbox 360 could also get a new hardware SKU with added features" and that Divnich claims that "if Microsoft does cut the price, Sony will respond with a drop of its own within two months." Unfortunately, Divnich doesn't predict exactly what the price cut will be, but I'm saying $50 across the board, with the XBox 360 Elite dropping to $399.99, the Premium to $299.99 and the Arcade hitting $249.99 or even less. It's about time someone matches the Wii's pricing, right?
Anyway, feel free to predict your own pricing scenarios and new models in the comments section.Hunkered down in New York City, Executive Editor David Carnoy oversees CNET's Home and Hardware reviews, which includes all things related to home theaters, PCs, and digital imaging. He also writes his Fully Equipped column , covering the gamut of gadgets and gizmos. E-mail David .
For those of you who love a bargain, but are lacking the time and energy to wade through the sea of online deals, CNET News.com is now highlighting just one great offer on a daily basis.
UBid.com is currently offering resealed Fellowes keyboards for the Sony Clie for only $19. The keyboard goes for much higher at other online retailers, but be aware that these items are repackaged and cost $14.99 for ground shipping.
What: Fellowes Stowaway PDA Keyboard for Sony Clie How much: $19 Shipping: $14.99 Where: uBid.com When: Through April 5 Click here for product details.
Some thought we were crazy when we dumped a cup of coffee on our Panasonic ToughBook 74 . Others wished their laptop could withstand that kind of beating. For all of you out there who want a truly rugged notebook but aren't ready to upgrade, Slashgear has a review of the Otterbox Laptop Case .The 8-pound, $170 OtterBox
The company claims the case is waterproof and strong enough to stand on, so the guys at Slashgear tested it by jumping on the case and submerging it in a pool with a MacBook Pro inside. . Overall they really liked the case, but at $170 and about 8 pounds, OtterBox is certainly not right for everyone.
Check out their review for a video of the unboxing and, of course, submerging the MacBook Pro.
The ninth-grader spent the past two weeks working with Mikko Hyppoenen and other researchers in the lab at the Fininsh antivirus company.
"Otto has a variety of reverse engineering skills," Hyppoenen wrote in a posting to the F-Secure blog on Friday. "He's been writing tools and doing virus analysis for the past weeks. He even published his first virus analysis yesterday."
The two weeks are now over and Otto is going back to school. The researchers are sad to see him leave.Topics: Security Bookmark: Digg Del.icio.us Reddit cnet_news406:http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-5723222-7.html
Yahoo's decision to invest in Chinese Internet property Alibaba.com, rather than try to take on Alibaba and others directly, is paying off, said Yahoo founder Jerry Yang at the 2007 HYSTA in San Jose yesterday.
"Our move to partner with Alibaba and become a shareholder has proved to be the right strategy," he said.
Yang also clarified how he met Alibaba CEO Jack Ma. The general story is that Yang met Ma when they got paired together at the HYSTA golf tournament a few years ago.
Not true. Yang met Ma on his first trip to China in 1997. Ma was the government representative for the technology ministry and went to the airport to greet the Yahoo founder.
The two also didn't golf together. Instead, Yang ended up golfing with Robin Li, the CEO of Baidu, the Chinese search giant that has emerged as a formidable competitor to both Yahoo and Google.
On other notes, Yang and Qi Lu, senior VP of engineering at Yahoo, also touted Yahoo Answers, in which individuals volunteer answers to questions. "It's a whole new world beyond index search," Yang said.
It's been a big hit for Naver in South Korea and Yahoo Taiwan. The service is growing in the U.S. as well.Topics: Yahoo Tags: Yahoo Yang Alibaba Bookmark: Digg Del.icio.us Reddit cnet_news406:http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9715499-7.html
Intel's remote wake-up chip could finally turn PCs into phones.
One of the biggest drawbacks of current PC-based Internet phone services like Skype , which allow people to make phone calls from their computers over the Internet for free or for reduced fees, is that you can't receive calls when the computer is turned off. But that is changing with a new chipset introduced by Intel Thursday that allows computers to wake from "sleep" to accept calls and do other tasks like accept downloaded content.
Intel has teamed up with JaJah , a California-based voice over IP start-up, to allow JaJah users to receive calls on their PCs when their computers are in "sleep mode."
"The Intel technology turns the PC into a PBX for the home," said Trevor Healy, CEO of JaJah. "With the JaJah soft client you can plug in any USB-enabled phone and start receiving inbound calls anytime."
The deal with Intel also means that JaJah technology will come already configured into certain PCs so that users don't have to download any software to make Web calls. This makes it different from other PC-based IP telephony services, like Skype, which require users to download a software client. Jajah provides users with local phone numbers and routes calls over the Internet to allow users to call any fixed or mobile phone anywhere in the world for a fraction of what they would normally pay.
JaJah was the first telecommunications partner that Intel selected to be used with its new Remote Wake technology. JaJah with more than 10 million subscribers is small potatoes compared with the biggest name in PC-based VoIP, Skype, which boasts over 300 million subscribers. But Intel's venture arm is an investor in JaJah, pouring $20 million into the company in May 2007.
That said, Intel said that the Remote Wake technology could work with any VoIP service.
"Intel Capital invested in JaJah, so this extends that relationship," said Joe Van De Water, Intel's director of consumer product marketing. "But the Remote Wake technology is open. There is a software development kit. So there's no reason that other VoIP providers like Skype couldn't use this."
Skype didn't respond to requests for comment.
While Remote Wake could make it easier to use a PC as a phone, it could also help make online video services work more efficiently. Orb Networks and CyberLink , two online content services, are also working with Intel to use the technology to work with their services so that songs, photos, videos, or other content can be downloaded onto PCs during off-peak hours. Intel is also hoping to work with PC services that do remote back-up or security updates so they can use the technology to offer their services during off-hours when there is less congestion on the network.