Office 2000 launches as hosted service

Office 2000 launches as hosted service

Microsoft has unveiled its Office Online offering, which will deliver the traditional Office 2000 desktop to users as an Internet-hosted service.

Office Online will deliver the Office 2000 suite to Windows and CE users who have used Windows NT or Windows 2000's Terminal Services, as they can connecting to a Windows Terminal Server running Office 2000 using an Internet connection.

Office will offer the same desktop experience and functionality with applications such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook and the FrontPage Web site creation and management tool.

The Online service allows users to save Office settings and access their customised version of the product, and provides document storage, Web hosting and Office Server Extensions to streamline workgroup collaboration and save documents to a Web site.

Users will also be able to receive customised Office-based solutions, updates and service releases, and can pay for services on a monthly basis.

The Office Online centrally managed software will be offered to American small business customers through Microsoft's bCentral Web services portal, which provides an integrated suite of services to help companies use the Internet to improve their business.

As part of its pilot program, partners such as Equant, Verio, FutureLink, Interland, Micron Electronics and USinternetworking, have announced supporting services for the product. These will primarily target small to medium-sized enterprises, and will build on existing Internet access, Web hosting, data storage, networking management and hardware and support services.

Many partners will also provide Exchange as a foundation for their knowledge worker solutions.

Office Online is available now, although no Australian plans have been announced.