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Microsoft betas Office Live Workspace in the US

Unlike rivals like Google or Zoho, Microsoft is betting on an online shared workplace to work in tandem with its desktop based applications.

It is currently testing Office Live Workspace at; the site is not available for users outside US it seems and you will be redirected to the UK webpage for Office Live Small Business (opens in new tab).

Unlike the latter, Workspace will allow files to be shared online seamlessly, something that Google Docs has nicely managed to do for more than one year now.

The initial offering will include 500MB of free storage and will be compatible with Office XP, 2003 and 2007; ZDnet (opens in new tab) confirms that you need not be an Office user in order to open an account on Office Live Workspace.

It has also been confirmed that Microsoft is planning to serve adverts on OLW and hasn't announced an ad-free paid for option.

That said, Microsoft is giving away two online applications - web notes (opens in new tab) and something akin of a mini list maker/spreadsheet. But don't expect Microsoft to release anything remotely close to Microsoft Office.

The company cannot afford to touch its cash cow although it has been rumoured to be preparing an ad-supported version of Microsoft Works... just in case.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.