Hm… looks like Microsoft certainly heard the Google Office (Google OpenOffice? OpenOffice?) rumor and has decided to step up. Just few hours ago they announced two "live" products, Windows Live (inspired heavily from their own start.com) and Office Live (no official URL yet).
This has nothing much to do with Windows but everything to do with it. Let me explain. It’s basically an AJAX drag-and-drop style desktop, which you may have seen on start.com. You can use it as an RSS aggregator, just like start.com, but its main core functionality is in its "gadgets" function. Gadgets are basically plugins that can be integrated into Windows Live. There’s Virtual Earth, RSS Reader, a Flickr viewer, Todo list and Mail. You can get these from MicrosoftGadgets.com, who are also holding a competition in which any gadget submitter will go into the draw to win a………………..yes, XBox 360. There are only eight gadgets as I write this, because it’s only been a few hours, but I can just picture thousands coming in the next few weeks.
Office Live is another online product Bill Gates announced at the invite-only conference. It’s basically a lighter, online version of Microsoft Office which it will roll out soon enough. Of course, it won’t exactly be MS Office but you could say close to it. OfficeLive is basically for businesses who want to manage themselves online. I couldn’t find anymore on this, but as words come out of Microsoft words will literally come out here.
Ok, now for my opinion if anyone’s reading it. I think this is certainly an interesting move by Microsoft and with their "gadgets" functionality it shows that even though a bit bit selfishly (you had to have ads in Windows Live!) they are moving towards open source. Of course, this can be a good thing, where Microsoft and open source are two unusual words coming together but it can also be a bad thing, possibly showing Microsoft’s selfishness into making money with others’ skill instead of hiring their own programmers. In any case, it’ll be interesting to see these two products grow although I doubt I’ll see an extreme consumer ever using it.