Microsoft Launches Office Online Site

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-09-08 Print this article Print

The site, which replaces the Tools on the Web site, paves the way for the new Office System 2003, which will be publicly available in October.

Microsoft Corp. on Monday launched its latest Office Online site,, which is a repository of free Office user resources on the Web. The site, which replaces the Tools on the Web site, paves the way for the new Office System 2003, which will be publicly available in October. In May at the Windows Hardware Engineering conference, Microsoft officials hinted that the company was readying an online version of the "Watson" automated crash-reporting technology that debuted in Office XP.
Microsoft Watch reported at that time that Microsoft was working on a new user-assistance portal for Office that would build on its crash-reporting technology.
Chris Linnett, the Group Manager for Office Online, told eWEEK that the Redmond, Wash., company currently connects with some 25 million unique users a month through its Tools on the Web site, and that Microsoft now hopes the new site will allow it to make contact with, and receive feedback from, the 400 million Office customers worldwide. The new site improved Microsofts ability to connect with customers "so they could tell it what they need, and we can respond by updating the site with the most critical information. There are now more than 100 staff members dedicated to updating the content and improving the user experience for Microsoft Office customers worldwide," he said. "While existing resources like Tools on the Web have been very popular, the relevant information was often scattered across multiple, unconnected Web sites. Now, with Office Online, all of the resources have been organized into a comprehensive and easy-to-access site featuring content that is refreshed daily," Linnett said. One of the advantages Microsoft is touting of the upcoming Office System 2003 release is the fact that the new programs in the Office System allow users to access content directly from task panes, meaning they will not need to leave the programs they are working in to get information. But Linnett pointed out that those customers who are using older versions of Office back to Office 97 and who do not upgrade will still be able to access the information they need through the browser, as they have always done.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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