To make its presence felt in a highly competitive market, Microsoft finally unveiled its upcoming release of Microsoft Office suite which offers a “lightweight” browser-based version at the 2008 Professional Developers Conference. While making public debut of its new Windows 7, the Microsoft team took the opportunity to highlight a revolutionized MS Office suite to the public. Its main office applications like MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint and OneNote will be bundled with the next release of Office, thus, users will be able to create, read and edit their MS Office documents via their IE, Firefox or Safari browsers (no mention is made however on whether it works with Google Chrome). This browser based application will be offered in both Silverlight and HTML/Ajax.

Microsoft has identified Google’s suite of online office applications as one of the key rival targets to outdo. Of course this will not be an easy task. Google web-based Office suite is offered free and has catered to a lot of users since it was released a few years ago. Undoubtedly this office application suite isn’t as feature-rich as Microsoft Office, but it has all the basic and necessary tools and it has built up its users/clientele network throughout the years. Microsoft has yet to announce its pricing model for the browser-based office application although it is almost a foregone conclusion that Microsoft will offer this web application to commercial users on subscription basis and bind them via some licensing agreements.