A couple of days ago Microsoft has unveiled a beta version of Office Live, an online version of the firm's Office suit. The Office Live Workspace will enable users to share, collaborate and comment on various Word, Excel, Powerpoint and other files and will give each user a 250MB workspace.
It is all similar to Google Apps, which allows users to create word processor, spreadsheet, and slide presentation documents, and then open them up for outside collaboration. The main difference is that Google's platform enables users to create documents directly from the Web. Microsoft Office Live Workspace requires users to own a copy of Microsoft Office.
Likewise, anyone who wants to make changes to the document will need to open up their own copy of Office and then upload the changes to the user's workspace. Comments can be attached to a document in the workspace without the need to open up the software, though.
The service is compatible with Office 2003 and Office 2007. Additionally, the current service called "Office Live", a set of Web tools for online business management, will be renamed "Office Live Small Business".