Microsoft is certainly challenging Google in many areas recently, and services like Bing, MyPhone and Mesh show they can do it, too.

One big push for them in 2010 will be the new version of Microsoft Office.  The mobile version of course is a free beta download in the Marketplace but the less-talked about Web version is now in closed-beta testing as well.

This web version will also be viewable for many types of smartphones, not just Windows Mobile.  However, only Windows Mobile (and Symbian?),officially, will have editing capabilities, whereas the web-based version is view-only.  The phones/browsers that will work with the web version are the following:

  • IE on Windows Mobile 5/6/6.1/6.5
  • Safari4 on iPhone 3G/S
  • BlackBerry 4.x and newer versions
  • Nokia S60
  • NetFront 3.4, 3.5 and newer versions
  • Opera Mobile 8.65 and newer versions
  • Openwave 6.2, 7.0 and newer versions

This is certainly an interesting  play by Microsoft to greatly expand their Office suite, which is one of the few areas that most agree upon is actually a really good product. The challenge to Google should be obvious, though we suppose they too could beef up and selectively favor Android devices.  There are other exceptions too.  For instance, this is primarily for enterprise right now, not consumers and SharePoint is required on the back end for this to work.

Finally, the bigger picture needs to be looked at here: make no mistake, Microsoft sees cloud computing as the future. Windows Mobile 7 will play a major role in this change and today's apps e.g. MyPhone, Mesh, Marketplace, Office, Skydrive and even web-based Recite are all the tips of this iceberg.

[via ZDNet]