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MS Office Web Apps – broken cloud

Tim Anderson reckons the new web-based versions of the Microsoft Office apps – Word, Excel and PowerPoint – are too crippled to be really useful for now.

‘Office Web Apps’ launches on May 12, alongside the new Office 2010 desktop software suite. As a business, you’ll need a SharePoint 2010 server to use them or an equivalent hosted service (we’re expecting more info on the latter in the next few days) – a bit of a shame as SharePoint needs a lot of investment to be any use, more than a small business can afford. Consumers will get the web apps through Windows Live or Facebook Docs.

The web apps are extensions of your desktop files – you can’t feasibly abandon the desktop apps yet. They offer viewing and limited editing, but the limitations are likely to confuse and frustrate users.

For now, we’re huge fans of Google Apps – a rapidly maturing service that is complete, consistent and highly useful in its pure online form.