This past Monday, Windows Live documents was finally opened up to public use, and after spending about 1 hr using it, I'm thinking the big M should have spent some more time developing it. It's not that its a bad suite web app, its just looks and feels ancient, like its from 2008!
Signing up was easy and can be done with any email address which is great since I really dislike hotmail (even the name bothers me). The opening documents home screen is rather plain (see slideshow below) and documents can't be sorted but they can be shared and there is the option to edit them in the browser or desktop program. Also, your given a hefty 25 GB of space.
The first web app that I opened was Word which had basic editing features, but did not have features found in Google Docs or Zoho such as Find and Replace, Thesaurus, Equations, and so on. Also only images stored on the hard drive could be inserted and drawings could not be produced. Next on the list was the Excel Web App which again had basic features such as sorting and number formatting, but graphs can't be produced which is surprising since this is one of the basic needs of a spreadsheet user. Finally, I gave the PowerPoint web app a quick whirl. It had a decent selection of themes, again the formatting was limited and there was no option to created embedding code. Like the Word web app, only images stored on the computer could be inserted and there was no drawings feature although there is a Smartart feature that wasn't working. Windows Live documents also has a OneNote app, it seemed OK.
The Windows Live documents suite is definitely meant for light editing, anything more serious requires a desktop program or another web office suite such as Zoho or Google Docs. The big M has a lot of catching up to do.