Microsoft Revs Office Products with SP1, Workspace Beta
Published: December 12, 2007
by Alex Woodie
Microsoft on Monday made a couple of Office-related announcements, including the delivery of Service Pack 1 (SP1) of the 2007 Office suite, and the first public beta of Office Live Workspaces, a service that allows Office users to post files so they can be accessed remotely.
Microsoft says it focused on improving the stability, performance, and security of Office with SP1. It says feedback from the Dr. Watson bug-reporting system allowed it to fix "the top software issues" in each of the Office 2007 suites. For example, users who tried to install any Office 2007 SP1 components on Windows XP SP2 received an error message. An error message could also be summoned by trying to install any Office 2007 SP1 server components on a computer that doesn’t have SharePoint Services 3.0 SP1. \r\nThe company also claims to have improved the performance of Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, and SharePoint, but provided few additional details about this performance boost. Security has also been boosted, thanks to "better protection against malicious software and potential threats to privacy," according to Microsoft.
Microsoft describes Office Live Workspace as "a secure online workspace to which Office users can post Word, PowerPoint, Excel, or PDF files directly from Office applications to work on remotely from virtually any Web-connected PC and collaborate on with others." The service doesn't require users to have Office installed (although that's the configuration Microsoft recommends), and it works with both Internet Explorer and Firefox.
The offering was created to help streamline the free-for-all that many Office users face when dealing with multiple versions of a document spawning from e-mail attachments or USB flash drives "We're hopeful that Office Live Workspace helps solve these challenges by providing a place online to keep a single version of a document that everyone can work on--so you’ll always know if you’re working on the latest draft," says Kirk Gregersen, Microsoft's office director of consumer and small business product management.
Office Live Workspaces is the latest offering in Microsoft's "software plus services" approach. It's also related to Office Live, a series of Web-based offerings designed to help customers accomplish several tasks, including establishing a Web presence, attracting new customers, generating repeat business, and managing their business online. Microsoft launched Office Live about a year ago.
Users can download the Office Live Workspace beta for free after signing up for the program at the Office Live Small Business Web site. It's is available in English, and support for additional languages is expected in 2008.
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