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Ray Ozzie on the Web Office

As part of my analysis of the Microsoft “Internet Services” memos, in ZDNet I dug into the details of what Ray Ozzie wrote about Office Live:

“Ray Ozzie’s memo indicates that Microsoft is still internally questioning the approach for Office Live. Should they web-enable traditional desktop personal productivity tools like Powerpoint? A web-based Office will be – should be – a much more collaborative suite of tools than its desktop equivalent. It won’t simply be a re-hash of the desktop products – because to take advantage of the two-way, open and collaborative nature of the Web, Microsoft product designers and engineers will need to re-think Office functionality. 

Ray Ozzie more than anyone is certainly aware of that need, so it’s interesting he pegs Office Live as a “portal for productivity”. In the 90’s a portal was known as a central place on the Web, where users could quickly access a variety of different services and websites. I think Ozzie may be extending the meaning of ‘portal’ to mean the Office Live suite of web-based tools and services.

The technologies he mentioned in the memo, RSS and XML, are often used nowadays to remove the necessity of a central portal website. With RSS for example, users can publish and subscribe to different forms of data. So with Powerpoint, the Office Live version of that tool could potentially become my portal to the Web for all presentation content that I have an interest in.” [Read full article on ZDNet]

I’m interested in your thoughts on what Microsoft could do with Office Live, seeing as they don’t appear to have settled on a plan yet.

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