I couldn’t agree more, but I would go a bit farther than he does. I’ve worked with literally thousands of technology challenged folks in my previous jobs. As Ross says even basic web pub tools like frontpage are just too hard. The challenge is that even a new reworked “save to web” feature in Office would require a question that basically says this:
How would you like to publish your page? MetaWeblog API, FTP, SFTP, SOAP. Please enter your hostname and login information below.
Uh oh. That’s a deal breaker right there.
I think Microsoft needs to go farther. I believe that every registered copy of Office should come with 100 mb of web space. Maybe it’s part of spaces or maybe it’s somewhere else, it doesn’t matter.
Microsoft can move the file however it wants and the user doesn’t need to know a thing. No questions to answer at all. You click “save to web” and presto your document is online. MSN takes care of the organizing features. This would allow alot of very cool things like easy synchronization, document permalinks, and so on.
It would have to be free to really work but that’s OK because MS wins in 2 ways. First this might drive some more corporate sales of Sharepoint. Sharepoint could become the big brother to the free hosting. More importantly though is that the service would only be available to licensed Office users. This gives users a real reason to purchase Office as opposed to just copying the disk they use at work.
If MS wanted to be really cool about it, they could use an existing spec for the publishing or make their custom spec open. This would allow other hosting services to use the spec and they could have a simple preference that let you change your publishing location from MS servers to Blogger for instance.