Microsoft is working on a virtualized version of Office

As readers know pretty well, Microsoft is working to drastically change the way Office is deployed on millions of desktops worldwide:

  • since January the company supports the virtualization and streaming of its productivity suite through Application Virtualization (formerly SoftGrid)
  • the company is secretly working on a new license agreement that will allow business partners to offer Office through 3rd party application virtualization and streaming solutions

but all of this may be just the first step before Microsoft redesigns the architecture of Office to be fully virtualization-aware.

A job offering published in May on the official website of the company seems to hint at such scenario:

Want to revolutionize the way the next generation of Office products makes it into users’ hands? Are you excited by the potential for flash-based devices and internet-based services to change the software distribution paradigm? The Office team is looking for experienced developers to help us leverage emerging technologies like virtualization and application streaming to redefine how our customers obtain and use Office products. Some of the problems we will solve include device integration, portability for settings and data, and creating new “Mobile” Office client products, as well as the infrastructure to support them. Each of these problems has the capacity to significantly impact Microsoft’s bottom line…

Maybe Microsoft plans to compete with Google in the productivity space with a (long awaited) SaaS version of Office that can be seamlessly streamed from the web on any Windows-powered device on the Net.