Microsoft Shares Early Look at Office 365 Cross-Platform Collaboration
Upcoming versions of Office Web Apps will look and act more like their PC-based counterparts and offer collaborative co-authoring experiences across PCs and more mobile devices.Microsoft is working on making it tough to distinguish between Office 365 on the PC and its cloud-delivered, browser-based Web apps by narrowing the features gap. After previewing Office 365's upcoming real-time co-authoring features last month, Amanda Lefebvre, technical product marketing manager for Office Web Apps, returned to offer a "first look" at pre-release Word Web App code at the Office 365 Blog. She said Microsoft's "goal is really to continue to retain the experience users are already familiar with. "We don’t think it should be any different just because you are on the Web," she said. Office 365 is Microsoft's subscription-based productivity software offering that blends installable applications for PC and Mac with Web-based apps and online file synchronization, sharing and storage capabilities. On June 14, the company released native Office apps for the iPhone, but only for Office 365 users. Rather than just mimic the desktop experience, Lefebvre said that Office 365's cloud-enabled capabilities allow for new collaborative usage models. "The fact for example that in Excel users will be able to co-author at a cell level and output charts and analysis real-time goes beyond even typical desktop usage scenarios today," she said.
In an accompanying YouTube video she stressed that "one of the big things we care about in the Word Web app—or in all the Web Apps—is fidelity." Within her Internet Explorer browser window, she scrolled down a paragraph- and graphics-laden Word document to show off the "high-fidelity view of the document."