Microsoft utters the F-word: "free"

Free Web versions of Office 2010 coming

Microsoft is making the online version of its upcoming Office 2010 free of charge, but is sparse on any other new details, John Fontana reports. What is known about the suite of desktop office applications is here.

The Web version won't have the same level of functionality that the PC-based version will have. It will have Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, or at least a limited version of each of those apps. One advantage would be the ability to share documents with others, and allow collaborative editing.

If you're thinking "Google Apps but without the $50 charge for a premium edition," so is Mitch Ashley, who calls Microsoft's approach "the best of all worlds." Certainly, it's the smartest approach for Microsoft, which makes a ton of dough off of Office, yet is faced with competition from free Web apps.

- Jeff Caruso

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