Microsoft announces millionth customer sign-up milestone for Office Live Workspace

Microsoft Corp. has announced that only six months after public availability, the beta release of Microsoft Office Live Workspace has reached the 1-million-customer sign-up milestone.

Office Live Workspace beta is the free, Web-based extension of Microsoft Office that lets people access their documents online and share their work with others. The Workspace beta was among the first entries in the new wave of online services that embody Microsoft's software-plus-services vision previewed last fall. In just six months, it has achieved significant interest from consumers, schools, and universities globally, and has added 11 languages and 20 new features such as multi-file upload, activity panels and improved Firefox support.

"The pace at which people are signing up for the beta tells us that they are looking for ways to resolve the complexities of their work, school, and home projects through a range of choices," said Kirk Gregersen, director of consumer and small-business product management for Microsoft Office. "It takes companies years to attract a strong customer base such as this. We're excited about Office Live Workspace growth and innovation yet to come."

Office Live Workspace Beta Celebrates Its Half-Birthday

Keeping up with the fast pace of innovation, Office Live Workspace beta has grown since its introduction six months ago on March 3, 2008. Based on customer feedback, many new and notable features have been added to the service:

  • Activity panel. The activity panel shows all the activity in a Workspace at a glance.
  • Notifications. People can receive e-mail notifications about changes made to their Workspace or documents.
  • Direct links. People can bookmark a Workspace or a Workspace item via a unique URL in a browser window.
  • Multi-file upload. Users can upload several files simultaneously by simply dragging and dropping from their desktop.
  • Improved sharing. Sharing functionality includes an easier user interface and auto-completion of e-mail addresses.
  • Firefox support. With the Office Live Update 1.2, improved support for the Firefox Web browser includes an “edit button” for Office documents and the ability to upload multiple files through that browser.

Originally launched worldwide in English, Office Live Workspace beta is now available in Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish and Traditional Chinese, bringing the total number of languages to 11.

"One in a Million" Shares His Story

According to Microsoft's press release, customers all over the world are finding that Office Live Workspace beta provides a central place for easy, immediate document sharing. People are using the Office Live Workspace beta to track and communicate health status to family members and to doctors; share ideas and research among a small group of clergy; and plan a wedding or family reunion. Twelve Live@edu universities and colleges across the U.S., including the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Washington, and Vanderbilt University, were early adopters of the Office Live Workspace beta. Students, faculty members and administrators all enhanced sharing and collaboration within the classroom among student teams and extracurricular projects. Approximately 72 percent of the students that piloted Office Live Workspace beta reported that they plan to continue using the service, and 89 percent would recommend the service to a friend.

The Australian National Curling Team is a fan of Office Live Workspace beta. The team is dispersed throughout Australia, while the team's coach lives in Canada. The team used to rely on e-mail to work together and share ideas but chose to use Office Live Workspace to have a central place to manage training logs, team photos and athlete biographies. The team found it particularly beneficial when orchestrating training for, and travel to, the Pacific Curling Championships in Beijing, where the men's team took home the silver medal.

"Using the Office Live Workspace beta has made it remarkably easier to communicate with my busy teammates," said Sean Hall, "second" team member, who lives in Sydney. "I can't imagine going back to trying to coordinate travel itineraries, training and competition schedules by only using e-mail any longer. For example, we will be travelling overseas on three separate trips in the next nine weeks. The itineraries have changed numerous times, so it is assuring to know that the most up-to-date details can be found at the click of the mouse rather than searching through endless e-mails and attachments. Office Live Workspace eliminates the ‘back and forth'; now I only need to log into my account and I've got the latest from coach and my teammates."

Access Anywhere, Share and Extend the Microsoft Office Experience

Office Live Workspace beta lets people organize documents and projects online and access them from almost any computer with a Web browser. People can save more than 1,000 Microsoft Office documents (based on average file size and use of Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents by students and work and home users) to one place online, and access and share them via the Web using password-protected sharing, letting people control who can view and edit work. An Office Live add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel, and Word allows people to open documents stored on Workspace from within Office, and then save them back to the Web with one click.

Customers can sign up for the free service at the Office Live Web site.

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