Windows Live Office spotted in the new Wave 4 header – replacement for Windows Live Docs (and Office Live)?

Remember earlier this year we showed you the new Windows Live Wave 4 header? Well it seems like there has been some changes to the header lately, in particular, it seems like there is a slight rebrand for one of the new services – Windows Live Docs. Here’s a screenshot of the latest Wave 4 header (M3 build):

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Compare this to the last one we showed you back in January (from M2 build):

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Notice that Docs has been rebranded to Office. Not only this, but it seems like the new service will no longer reside on http://docs.live.com but at http://office.live.com. This seems to confirm that our previous speculation that Windows Live Docs will be the replacement for Office Live (which currently resides on http://office.live.com). It appears that the new Windows Live Office will be based on SkyDrive, much like how Windows Live Photos is like, but customised for managing documents (think Office Live Workspace). Let’s take a closer look at the Office menu, which seems to indicate that Windows Live Groups Wave 4 is also changing its focus to be the place where you collaborate and share documents:

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Oh and let’s not forget about Windows Live Mobile Wave 4. It seems like there will be a version of Windows Live Office for the mobile web too (compare this to the M2 menu on the right we’ve posted earlier this year):

M3 Build (new) M2 Build (old)
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You’ve probably heard about the new Docs.com service for Facebook – could this be the reason why Microsoft decided to rebrand the Windows Live Docs service to Windows Live Office? Although we do think the new name, Windows Live Office, sounds better (two brands in one!).

In related news, Mary Jo Foley spotted the fine prints in the newly released Office Web Apps Product Guides which seem to indicate that Office Web Apps final will be released in “second half of 2010”. The final version will include OneNote Web App as well as editing in Word Web App, plus the ability to co-author Word, PowerPoint and OneNote documents stored on SkyDrive using the Office 2010 client applications (Note: Word and PowerPoint Web Apps do not support co-authoring). Last month, Long Zheng received tips from Microsoft that the final version of Office Web Apps will be released together with Windows Live Wave 4. Judging from Chris Jones’s post yesterday, the following timeline is supposed to happen:

  1. Limited beta expanded to people outside of Microsoft (web services + Essentials)
  2. Windows Live Wave 4 web services rolled out
  3. Windows Live Essentials Wave 4 beta released to public (for Windows PCs, Macs (??), and phones)
  4. Windows Live Essentials Wave 4 final release

So are we expected to find Office Web Apps final to be released along with the Windows Live Wave 4 web services? Or with the final release of Windows Live Essentials Wave 4? If “second half of 2010” is the actual timeframe, I certainly hope that it is the latter, meaning that at least we’d be able to get our hands on the other Windows Live Wave 4 web services before then. Only time will tell…

Remember that the screenshots posted here are still in development and are subject to change.