Microsoft makes Office 2000 available on Web

Bowing to the trend toward the provision of applications services, Microsoft said its Office 2000, will be available in a hosted version over the internet.

Microsoft already hinted that it would make its office applications available over the Web in September.

Microsoft Office Online, as the hosted version will be called, is geared to small and medium-sized companies that do not have the resources to manage the software themselves, Microsoft said in a statement.

Microsoft's portal for small and medium-sized businesses, called bCentral, will offer the service, as will a number of outside application service providers (ASPs).

In conjunction with the announcement, a group of ASPs said they would also host Microsoft Office Online. Among them were British Telecommunications, Qwest Communications and Winstar Communications.

Microsoft Office Online will be available on clients running Windows and Windows CE operating systems as well as Windows NT's Terminal Server Software, or Windows 2000 Terminal Services software, when it becomes available, Microsoft said. Windows Terminal Services software, when installed on a company server, allows users with thin clients on their desktop to access applications using terminal emulation.

Microsoft Office Online has been specially configured to run in a hosted environment, Microsoft said. It will offer users the following applications: Microsoft Word; Microsoft Excel; the Microsoft Powerpoint presentation graphics program; Microsoft Publisher, a desktop publishing application; Microsoft FrontPage, a tool for creating and managing Web sites; Microsoft's messaging and collaboration software, Microsoft Outlook; and Microsoft Access, a network-management application.

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