Is Microsoft finally seeing the light with Office?

A recent blog post from Sarah Parez tries to answer some "want-to-know" questions on the upcoming Microsoft Office Web Applications.  With software as a service becoming more popular, Google has quickly become a competitor of Microsoft's Office Suite with its Google Docs. Microsoft is aggressively fighting back by making its Office software available via the Web browser.

According to Perez's post, Microsoft's Office Web Applications will not only be available in Internet Explorer, but also Safari and Firefox.  Office Web will also be compatible on the Linux and Mac platforms.  Some of the specific answers Sarah Parez gives in her blog post:

Q: Do the Office Web Applications require Internet Explorer?

A: No! Office Web applications will work across multiple platforms and browsers including Safari and Firefox, too.

Q: Will the Office Web Applications work on the iPhone?

A: Yes, in the Safari web browser.

Q : Is Silverlight required in order to use the Office Web Applications?

A: No! Silverlight is not required. Using Silverlight will enhance the user experience, resulting in sharper images and improved rendering. Also, the Office Live Workspace has integrated Silverlight technology into the multi-file upload function for a better experience there, too.

Q: Will the Microsoft Office Web Applications work on Linux?

A: Yes! It does not matter which operating system is used as long as you're running a supported web browser.

I only hope that what Parez writes does comes true and we don't see Microsoft's Windows "protectionist" people screw things up.  I would like to see Microsoft takes this one step further in their enterprise licenses.  It would be a win-win situation if both Microsoft Office the software and Microsoft Office the Web application to be covered under a single license.

Can you imagine the possibilities with Office Web Applications?  Organizations running their PCs on multiple platforms including Windows, Linux, and even OS X could deploy Office regardless of the operating system.  That is a lot less hassle for the IT department or those users that insist on using Linux instead of Windows.

Now let's just wait and see if Microsoft has the courage to follow through on the direction they need to take MS Office...