Microsoft Office as a Hosted Application…

Microsoft Office is offered as a hosted application right now through the implementation of virtual desktops that some companies are offering.
With these services your applications and files are all centrally stored on a server, hosted by the service provider. With these services, once you sign on, you see your computer’s desktop, in a web browser. The start button and everything else is all there – but in a web browser.
These services bundle Microsoft Office into the package as well.
Of course this is not exactly what people have in mind when they think of Microsoft Office online. As Google and ThinkFree offer a suite of applications – online – Microsoft will offer the same as well. The question for Microsoft is HOW?
Every month the rumblings get louder and louder.
Cnet writes “Office is used by tons of those folks, but it’s often old versions of Office,” Capossela said, adding that the company is actively trying to see whether different ways of pricing or offering Office might prompt more consumers to use the latest technology.
“Would prepaid cards work in the U.S.?” We don’t think so, but those are the types of questions we try to ask ourselves,” he said.
One possibility is to introduce some sort of online productivity options as part of the Office Live suite of software. BusinessWeek reported last year that Microsoft was exploring such a move.

Microsoft Office Live (which will be renamed to reflect is small business focus) is a start, but we all know that eventually Microsoft will release a fuller suite of applications – Word & Excel at the very least.
Google’s purchase of security company Postini has to be another blow for Microsoft – as Google’s online applications get more secure and mature.
If Microsoft starts selling Office as a hosted application, don’t jump to use it just to “save money”. Consider using it as a way to drive productivity in your business.
It’s also important to consider what you and your employees will do if you have no access to the Internet for some hours? Can people work offline and then synchronize their content?