Monday, February 18, 2008

Office 14 to add more online document sharing

Microsoft won’t be turning Office 14 into a completely Web-ified productivity suite, a la Google Docs. But it’s practically a given that Microsoft will add more online collaboration/sharing capabilities to the individual point products that will comprise the client-based Office 14.

Microsoft execs are beginning to drop a few hints about the company’s plans to provide more document collaboration/sharing options for its PC-based desktop-productivity software.

Microsoft is beta testing an adjunct to Office (and non-Microsoft office suites) known as Office Live Workspace, which adds document collaboration/sharing capabilities to Word, Excel and PowerPoint (the XP, 2003 and 2007 releases). But Workspace doesn’t provide online/offline sync for Access, OneNote, Publisher or other more business-targeted members of the Office product family.

OakLeaf Systems blogger Roger Jennings noted that Microsoft is working on a way to make its Microsoft Access client database product more Web-friendly.As Jennings noted, Chairman Bill Gates, who spoke at this week’s Office System Developer Conference, made references to Microsoft’s plans to turn Microsoft Access, its desktop database product, into more of a Web-ified product. In a video interview, Gates said:

“Now [with Access] 2007, they did a great job where you could replicate from SharePoint down to Access lists back and forth, but that still didn’t let you run your logic up on the server. So the next step is to take that base of Access users and literally let them write things that connect directly up to SharePoint and so it’s server-based. So it’s a logical step for Access.”

Gates said the same way Excel moved to the server (via Excel Services) with the Office System 2007 release, so, too, will Microsoft Access.

“In no sense are we leaving the Access people behind,” Gates also said.

In addition to Excel Services, Microsoft already has InfoPath Services and Groove Services, which allow users to store and desktop data to/from Office SharePoint Server.

Microsoft hasn’t offered a timing update on Office 14 for some time. Latest I’ve heard is that the company is still aiming to roll out Office 14 in 2009.

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