Web Hosted Office Suites
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Most people by now are familiar with hosting for their web sites, but some people are not so familiar with web hosted office suites. The concept is relatively new, and there are very few options for people interested in them. In this article, I will discuss some of the companies who provide some type of web hosted office suite package.
When I talk about a web hosted office suite, I am specifically talking about various software applications which are traditionally used on a single computer and are stored on that computer's hard drive. Some examples of this would be Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and so on. Some companies are now providing these types of applications via the Internet. This type of service has its good points and bad points. I will discuss the positives and the negatives later on. It is fair to say, though, that this type of service will be more beneficial to some and not to others.
These types of web hosted services are referred to as software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. Many small businesses are finding them more useful and cost-effective than the traditional Microsoft Office software which stays on a single PC's hard drive. The SaaS applications may be used on any computer, from anywhere in the world, which is one huge advantage of web hosted office suites.
Some of the web companies which have already entered the field of providing these web hosted applications are Google, Cisco Systems, Zoho, and Zimbra. At this point, the big two are Google with their Google Apps suite, and Cisco with their WebEx WebOffice suite. I want to take an inside look at what Google Apps and WebEx offer their customers.
While SaaS companies' customers consist of mostly businesses, interested users can increasingly be found in every demographic. I would like to find out whether or not these web hosted office suites are a fad, or the software replacement for the next generation. One thing is for sure, Microsoft needs to jump on board soon, or else they may start to lose some of their software applications market share.
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