It continues to frustrate me that I cannot easily retrieve and update my Microsoft Office documents when I'm on the road. Sure, I have some access to my stuff, but these methods are either complex and perform poorly (Virtual Private Network), or are a subset of what I require (Outlook Web Access -- and Outlook is the part of Office I don't use), and smart cards (which simplify secure remote access but aren't widely deployed).
So when I spotted a relatively short line for audience Q&As to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates at this morning's Microsoft Office System Developer Conference in San Jose, I got to ask him what Microsoft will be doing to make my Office experience more like my Gmail experience, where my email is available from any connected PC.
To paraphrase, Gates responded that the next version of Office ("14") will provide some additional Outlook Web Access-style support for Excel documents, and perhaps Word and other Office components as well. But he stopped short of promising a Gmail-style level of widespread access.
There will be more said at this event about improved Office Web access. Enterprises are using Sharepoint to do this. The ISP story is lot more muddled. Maybe the hosted Exchange providers are thinking about it, but as far as I can tell, they're not represented here at this conference.