ThinkFree has offered 50 invites to get into the ThinkFree Premium closed beta. The first 50 respondees who send an email to the inbox email@example.com will get a fully-licensed version of ThinkFree Premium to evaluate. I'm not sure at this point how long the evaluation period is, so I've sent an email to ThinkFree to clarify that (* see update below). But in any case Web Office fans should check this out. ThinkFree Premium's main benefit is its offline support, so you can use it on the desktop similar to Microsoft Office. It also features file synchronization, backups, tech support and more.Web Office suite vendor
Read/WriteWeb previously covered ThinkFree in February, noting that ThinkFree markets its office suite as the one with best Microsoft Office compatibility. It is also mainly a Java-based solution, rather than Ajax which Zoho and Google predominantly use. ThinkFree Online includes three applications – ThinkFree Write for word processing, ThinkFree Calc for spreadsheet management and ThinkFree Show for creating presentations. In May 2006 I interviewed ThinkFree CEO TJ Kang. At that stage TJ made a special point of noting ThinkFree's MS compatibility:
"ThinkFree prides itself on having more functionality than the other Web Office players, but TJ told me it isn’t a case of features for features sake. Rather, ThinkFree’s main reason for having so much functionality is to be compatible with Microsoft Office. He said if they didn’t have that level of compatibility, then MS Office users "wouldn’t make the move". One of ThinkFree’s goals is to ween MS Office users off the desktop and onto the Web."
I concluded at that time that the primary benefit of ThinkFree is its close compatibility to Microsoft Office functionality - with the web-based functionality, such as collaboration, that it offers on top of that being the differentiator to MS. Now offline functionality has been added to the mix, making it easier for customers to migrate from MS Office to ThinkFree.
Update: Response to my query re how long the evaluation period is: "The version will be active for 1 full year after the beta program closes and it launches. Right now we are looking at the Nov. timeframe, so approx from Now until Nov. 2008."