Next Big Thing in Software is Online Services Microsoft and Naver

englishnews@chosun.com

Following moves by Google and several Web 2.0 start-ups, Microsoft and Naver, Korea’s largest web portal, will soon provide software services delivered through the Internet. The efforts are being closely watched by avid software users.

Microsoft to provide suite of online software

According to the New York Times on Monday, this week Microsoft plans to offer a Unified Installer that will allow users to download a suite of Windows Live services. Those services operate over the Internet but feel like desktop applications. The program will contain Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger 8.5 and Windows Live OneCare Family Safety, a computer security program.

Microsoft primarily makes its money by selling software packaged in a physical medium, such as compact discs. The new Internet software package marks the company’s first serious foray into online services, and indicates a fundamental shift in the traditional software distribution paradigm.

Naver to provide Think Free online office services

Korea’s largest portal is also moving to offer high-quality online software that people can use in their web browsers. Naver on Monday began taking applications for testers of its Naver Office software suite. Five hundred successful applicants will be allowed to test the software for one and a half months from Sept. 19. Naver Office is a suite of programs similar to those found in Microsoft Office that reside on the Internet and are accessed through a web browser. Users will no longer need Word, Excel or PowerPoint installed on their PCs, since they can access similar programs for free anytime, anywhere through Naver.

Google’s online services evolving

Google and other ventures that have been at the cutting edge of web office technology are countering Microsoft’s moves by diversifying their services. Google acquired online word processor Writely in March 2006 and seven months later packaged it with its Google Docs & Spreadsheets (docs.google.com) online application.

Google Docs allows users to create and open .doc files and spreadsheets using a web browser. Some industry insiders say that Google will likely debut its online slide-show program Presently and a revised version of Jotspot, a structured wiki program that Google bought last year, at the Office 2.0 conference in San Francisco next week.

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