Microsoft on Thursday released Office Web Apps to technical preview, reports seattlepi.com.
It's billing the online extensions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote as a packaged competitor to Google Apps. Michael Schultz, marketing director for Microsoft Office Services, called Office Web Apps the "fifth Beatle" of Microsoft's Office suite.
In reviewing the software, ZDNet's Ed Bott says the suite contains some rough edges and missing pieces and, in fact, not all the features have yet launched. The apps are available to a limited set of beta testers and invited guests, he says.
Microsoft plans a final release in the first half of 2010.
Meanwhile, an IDC study finds increasing interest in Google's online productivity applications, reports Computerworld. In a survey of 262 senior managers at companies of various sizes, one in five companies reported Google Docs were widely used in their offices.