InstallFree: MS Office in the Cloud, No Installation or Drivers Necessary!

 Source and the full article by @markhachman — ReadWriteWeb (@RWW)

InstallFree released its first virtual office suite, Nexus, a completely browser-based service to gain access to full-fledged versions of Microsoft Office applications. Although the service sounds fantastic in theory, I can’t recommend it unconditionally over other online office solutions.

InstallFree, founded in 2006, offers a number of enterprise-level application virtualization services, encapsulating various Microsoft applications without the need to install them on a local machine. The company’s chief executive, Rakesh Narasimhan, is the former general manager for Cloud Data Services within Microsoft’s Server & Tools Business (STB) division – the company’s most profitable segment.

InstallFree Nexus’ selling point is its ability to run actual Microsoft applications totally in a browser – Chrome, IE, or Firefox – without the need for installation or drivers. Users can open and edit files in native, licensed versions of Office 2010, including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel; Microsoft Publisher, Visio, and Project; the LibreOffice suite; as well as Silverlight, Java, and Adobe PDF documents. As a bonus, Nexus promises integration with popular cloud storage applications including Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, and SharePoint. That means iPad users can take advantage of the service, too, as several Apple-focused publications have noticed.

Typically, software like Microsoft Office needs to be downloaded, installed, updated, and/or patched. Microsoft itself has tried to solve that problem with Office 365, its own Office-in-a-browser solution. However, Office 365 isn’t really Web-based at all. Users still have to download hundreds of megabytes of software, and keep up with a subscription to use it. InstallFree’s approach still requires a subscription, but its lightweight model lends itself to tapping in on a need-to-use basis. It’s a great option for thin clients, tablet users, or anyone without the need or the desire to install an office app on their PC. (The company will give users the option to use Office 2013, once it becomes available.)





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