Microsoft Revisits Web Service Plan "The problems facing the Office team are obvious. Although most Office applications are decades-old, mature products, they've also grown stale. Nevertheless, convincing customers to upgrade to newer versions is increasingly difficult. After all, what more can the company add to its stalwart word processing solution, Microsoft Office Word? Word's broad feature set hasn't really changed since the mid-1990s and probably never will. In the current Office version, Office 2003, Microsoft did something it hasn't done for years; the company added two new major applications, Microsoft Office InfoPath and Microsoft Office OneNote. But although both applications have been well received, neither is likely to dramatically change the Office team's financial picture.
In response to this situation, Microsoft is turning to the Web services strategy that it originally plied with a since-canceled project called Net Docs. But this time the company will apply the strategy to the core Office suite applications, not to a new Office-like product. Word, Microsoft Office Excel, OneNote, Microsoft Office Outlook, and the other Microsoft Office System applications will continue as standalone applications but will also be used as spokes in a collaborative system that will use Web services for intra-application communication. And because they're built on Web standards, these services can be used to interact with Office applications and servers that are locally available on users' hard disks or are remotely accessible via the Internet."