Is Microsoft starting to get concerned about their lack of an online productivity suite? Arstechnica believes that they’re feeling the pressure and says that Microsoft is looking to take Microsoft Works online to provide a free alternative to a word processor.
If they do decide to go through with their idea it will have to be ad-supported, and depending on the functionality of their offering it may be worth having the ads. However, if it is similar to Zoho’s Writer or Google’s Writely then it probably won’t take off very well.
I do know several people who refuse to use Microsoft Works because they do not find it to be productive at all. There are several other free solutions that people should look for before they start using Microsoft Works. Almost everyone that uses Microsoft Works only use it because that’s what was included with their PC. If they knew about the powerful OpenOffice.org, which is free, then most people would probably begin to wonder how they ever used Microsoft Works. :)
Even though Microsoft Works isn’t the greatest productivity suite that is available it would still be pretty impressive if Microsoft could bring almost all of the Microsoft Works features into a web-based version. They would probably have to do that similarly to how they let users try out Office 2007 without installing it on their system. I doubt they will take that route though because it seems like it is very high-bandwidth.