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Microsoft Office Live Workspace Puts Office Online

Microsoft Office unveils Live Workspace for 500 million users.

Microsoft has unveiled a new free web-based service, dubbed Live Workspace, that will offer users the essential ability to save or share Microsoft Office files online. The Office announcement was made during a party at Twelve21 nightclub in Manhattan.

“We are responding to the most urgent needs of the 500 million Office users,” said Guy Gilbert, Microsoft senior product manager. “They want to access their documents everywhere.”

Office Live will contain enough online storage for more than 1,000 Microsoft Office documents in a single space open to the access of collaborators.

The online product is set to become a rival to Google Docs, thereby possibly adding more fuel to the already heated rivalry between the two renowned companies.

Microsoft is removing the lock from Office Live Workspace, opening the service up to any user with a Windows Live ID, and introducing a few major new features.

The Office software maker is not writing off the possibility of a truly web-based version of Office but the company said there are no suitable plans for such a release, noting the difficulties of replicating the rich feature sets of programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Microsoft Office Live Workspace is being offered first as a private beta.