MS Office on the web slips further away

We were promised a preview of Microsoft’s web-based Office applications this summer – and now they offer only a dud preview to selected pundits. Meanwhile Google’s web apps have infiltrated up to 20% of companies and can enjoy at least another year’s viral growth before the MS products launch.

The MS preview sounds too early-stage to bother picking holes in – many features are missing or broken – but MS appear to want us to use the web apps as ‘lite’ versions, reverting to the desktop apps for serious work. Apart from large spreadsheets, which I can’t see running fast enough in a web browser, this misses the point: the joy of web apps is being able to entirely drop the desktop apps – being able to work from any computer you find to hand, not having to worry about upgrades and versions, not having to remember to upload and backup your docs.

Google apps users are learning to do more with less – and doing fine. Only corporate inertia will save Microsoft from itself now.