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On my last vacation I went back home to visit family. As anyone who works in technology can appreciate, I quickly became the designated tech support person. So I spent part of my vacation patching, installing software and fixing computers, while learning how each of my family’s computer setups differ.
My mom runs Vista with IE 7, my brothers both use Macs and Safari (and wisely didn’t let me touch them), my dad runs Windows XP, and my in-laws run Vista with Firefox. This experience made me appreciate on a personal level how valuable it is to be able to work anywhere, regardless of the machine setup.
As we were building the Office Web Apps we set out to provide an Office quality experience regardless of which platform and which browser you use. We know that our customers will have diverse configurations, and in some cases (such as working from a library or airport kiosk) there isn’t an option to install a different browser.
The Office Web Apps work with some of the most widely used browsers, and we officially support:
If you prefer to use another browser you should still give the Web Apps a try. While we cannot officially support all browsers, customers will not be blocked from using them. It is a goal of the Web Apps to have broad compatibility and reach.
While we strive to make the experience consistent across each browser we support, sometimes this isn’t possible. A browser may not offer the same level of extensibility for certain scenarios. One example of this is copying text by pressing the ‘copy’ button on the ribbon. In Internet Explorer this will work (after a prompt), but Firefox doesn’t support copying to the clipboard through mouse actions, so you’ll see a dialog from the Office Web Apps similar to the one below.
Microsoft just released Silverlight 3, a free browser plugin that allows developers to build richer web experiences for many browsers and platforms. The Office Web Apps will work well without any plugins installed, but they get even better if you have Silverlight.
You may notice that when you view a Word document or PowerPoint presentation you’re prompted to install Silverlight. That’s because the Word and PowerPoint viewing experiences benefit from Silverlight.
There are some automatic benefits to having Silverlight installed when running the PowerPoint Web App. For example, animations smooth out a bit, and the slide will scale with the browser window size. However Silverlight is not required for rendering or animation.
If you’d like to get the benefits mentioned above when using the Office Web Apps, install Silverlight. If you’d prefer not to install Silverlight the Office Web Apps will still work well in the browser you choose to use - allowing you to work anywhere, no matter what machine setup you happen to find.
Gareth Howell Program Manager, Office Web Apps
I'm a student. I know many of my peers use Google Apps but quite frankly it is junk. With my discount I'd gladly pay for Office. I'm quite surprised actually than anyone would even consider using in in the first place, free or not. My classmates and I are beginning to use Web Apps on our skydrives. We love it and there are MAC and PC users working together nicely.
I've not used Google Docs extensively but could easily see that it doesn't even remotely stack up against Office except that it's web-based... If the Office Web Apps experience is anything like the desktop Office suite, I don't even doubt its success in the business market as well as 'smarter' individuals noticing the potential and embracing the effort Microsoft has invested in this project. I'm looking forward to the OneNote Web App in particular.
It's a pity that Opera has been excluded rather than Firefox. I don't like Firefox at all, it just feels tacky to me, but unfortunately there's a lot of people using it so it makes sense supporting it for initial rollout. From a market-share viewpoint, it makes absolutely NO sense in rolling out support for Google Chrome at this stage because Chrome is a Google product and it would be easier to sway people using other browsers / platforms rather than the direct competition's product(s). How people can not see this logic, blows my mind away...
@ the people who are ranting about this product, nobody is forcing you to use a particular browser or Office Web Apps for that matter. If you want to use an unsupported browser and / or are happy to use Google Apps, don't even look at Office Web Apps... BTW, Silverlight installation is optional and only enhances the user experience!
Microsoft has a great set of free software / solutions with awesome online solutions that integrate nicely with each other e.g. Windows Live Mail, Workspace, SkyDrive, SharedView etc. People can not say that Microsoft is only out to make a quick buck, I think it's even safe to say that Microsoft isn't even too concerned to make money out of the individual anymore, large organizations is where the money's at.
As of now (2:34 PM, 03/nov/2010), webapps seems to work fine in Opera 10.6!!
Office Web Apps Word defintely does NOT work with IE7 and XP (which I am forced into using at work). I lose any changes I make after clicking on the save button. It works find with IE8 and Windows 7 (which I have at home).