So I read today about the Microsoft Live Office Beta website and some of it’s new features. Obviously, I couldn’t see any of the features as I don’t have a PC with IE in front of me. However, I was able to view the first demo movie. It introduced a free service to let people get their own domain name, edit their own website, get e-mail addresses, and get site statistics. All of which looked very vanilla.

In my head I am just picturing all of the crappy websites that FrontPage has produced over the past few years. Im picturing all of the horrible code used to generate the pages. With web professionals (see Beyond New Professionalism) trying very hard to create high quality, usable, and functional websites — a huge corporation like Microsoft launches something like this. Unfortunately, for those who don’t know any better (or don’t want to spend money), this will be the ultimate solution for them. I see things going backwards with this approach.

This is evident by the creators of the program, Microsoft, that you have to use a certain browser to access anything they create (which, I somewhat understand from their point of view). They are far from seeking to meet standards or create professional sites. They are pushing something that is easy (but in most cases probably won’t work properly).

I also see this as a ploy to redirect users back to using Internet Explorer. I had a chance to beta test this the other day and was not impressed at all. In fact, it looked very bad and not very user friendly or intuitive (compared to what I expected from previous versions of IE). But, IE is a horrible browser in every sense of the word. Many have switched to Firefox simply for security reasons — it is not as insecure as IE. Will these users go back to using IE now that these products will be available online?

I guess I will have to wait to really see what it produces — but I must say that my hopes are not too high (especially with the past products from Microsoft).

What do you think?

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