Office Web Apps
Screenshot of Word Web App, As of January 2013[update]
|Initial release||June 7, 2010|
|License||Proprietary software; both commercial and freeware variants are available|
Microsoft Office Web Apps is the web-based version of the Microsoft Office productivity suite. It includes the web-based versions of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft OneNote. The web applications allow users to access their documents within a web browser and collaborate with other users online. Office Web Apps are available free of charge for SkyDrive but may be licensed to corporations for internal use on their private clouds.
Office Web Apps was first revealed on 28 October 2008 at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2008 in Los Angeles. Chris Capossela, senior vice president of Microsoft business division introduced Office Web Apps as lightweight versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that allow people to create, edit and collaborate on Office documents through a web browser. According to Capossela, Office Web Apps was to become available as a part of Office Live Workspace at workspace.officelive.com. Office Web Apps was announced to be powered by AJAX as well as Silverlight, however the latter is optional and its availability will only "enhance the user experience, resulting in sharper images and improved rendering."  Microsoft's Business Division President Stephen Elop stated during PDC 2008 that "a technology preview of Office Web Apps would become available later in 2008". However, the Technical Preview of Office Web Apps was not released until 2009.
On July 13, 2009, Microsoft announced at its Worldwide Partners Conference 2009 in New Orleans that Microsoft Office 2010 reached its "Technical Preview" development milestone and features of Office Web Apps was demonstrated to the public for the first time. Additionally, Microsoft also announced that Office Web Apps will be available to users in three ways: via Windows Live for consumers (instead of the previously announced Office Live Workspace), or via Microsoft SharePoint or Microsoft Online Services for business users. However, Office 2010 beta testers were not given access to Office Web Apps at this date, and it was announced that it will be available for testers during August 2009. However, in August 2009, a Microsoft spokesperson stated that there has been a delay in the release of Office Web Apps Technical Preview and will not be available by the end of August.
Microsoft officially released the Technical Preview of Office Web Apps on September 17, 2009. Office Web Apps was made available to selected testers via its SkyDrive service. The final version of Office Web Apps was made available to the public via Windows Live Office on June 7, 2010.
On October 22, 2012, Microsoft announced the release of new features including co-authoring, performance improvements and touch support.
Office Web apps can open and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations in Office Open XML formats. Starting on July 2013, they can render PDF documents or convert them to Microsoft Word documents, although the formatting of the document may deviate from the original. Starting on November 2013, the apps support real-time co-authoring and autosave Word files.
Office Web Apps is available to its customers via three channels:
- SkyDrive channel: Consumers are able to access Office Web Apps through SkyDrive service and by extension, through Outlook.com. Office Web Apps were released to the consumer public via SkyDrive on June 7, 2010. The service replaced Office Live Workspace after all users' files and folders were migrated to SkyDrive. Starting on 8 February 2013, the owner of a SkyDrive account can share Office documents with a link so that his colleagues can edit them without signing in or having an account of their own.
- Private cloud channel: Volume Licensing customers of Microsoft SharePoint are able to host Office Web Apps on-premises on private clouds.
- Public cloud channel: Businesses, corporations and educational institutions are able to subscribe to Office 365 programs and obtain Office Web Apps on Microsoft-hosted public cloud.
Microsoft also offers other web applications in its Microsoft Office suite, such as the Outlook Web App (formerly Outlook Web Access), Lync Web App (formerly Office Communicator Web Access), and Project Web App (formerly Project Web Access).
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