21 Jan 2016

Office on Web

I stumbled on the web version of office 365 cuz my outlook client wasn’t responding (no surprise :-). I purposefully logged Internet Explorer assuming IE would be most tested browser for Outlook though later I discovered its equally powerful on Chrome.

As a background, my work makes me use Outlook (and most other office apps) on every possible platform … Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and on devices of every shape and form. It might sound crazy but I sync my work outlook on as many 13 different clients :-) While each of the office apps is now robust individual application, Office in itself always remained a bundle of apps. This is changing with office on Web; its more like a productivity platform now. Bringing the whole Office and Share Point experience to web is no mean task and shows new Microsoft is as committed to web as it is to Windows.

The good thing is - it works. For example, I am not missing my desktop outlook app any more. Online Word, Excel, Power Point and One Note are still not enterprise grade but its a matter of time .. direction is right. The biggest surprise was Peoples app on the web. Its way more powerful than the desktop version. Now we can create collaboration groups on the fly .. search for company wide distribution lists and actually see who all are there in those lists. And its easy! I wouldn’t compare it to Google Apps yet. Or any other web collaboration app such as Slack though I am sure Microsoft will invest heavily to make the web versions enterprise grade. It is definitely few steps ahead of iCloud.

I think Microsoft deserves credit for attempting office experience on web when everything else is getting Appified . And doing this in parallel (and with equal focus) on iOS, Mac and Windows mobile platform is even more praise worthy.

There is still a long way to go ..

Update after one year - Jan 2017

Skype web beta is now available. Microsoft has added bunch of new services to web. Core apps are still sluggish. They continue to promote the desktop apps (sad). Account management is scattered across Skype, One Drive, Office and MS Account. Long way to catch up with Google Apps. iCloud seems to have less features but more stable.