"eBay and Microsoft today invited third-party developers to tap into the Web services capabilities of both the eBay platform and the Microsoft Office System to enhance trading on eBay. With the combined power of the two platforms, developers now have the opportunity to build solutions that can benefit buyers and sellers on eBay." [Source: Scoble]
This is one of the first exciting applications of web services invocation via Microsoft Office 2003 that I have seen publicly announced. I'd love to see more companies take advantage of the great work our Office team has done. That's one of the things that bugs me when I read stuff in the press like this: "No way should you upgrade to Office 2003 unless your existing suite dates back to the Boer War. It's just not worth it." Gee. That's great journalism. Try looking deeper that the toolbar sometime when you review a product.
Last year I did some work with a large grain wholesaler. We talked about how cool it would be if they allowed their 50,000 growers to view their grain holdings and statements inside Excel by invoking a web service out of the grain wholesaler's SAP. Then the growers could manipulate the data to their heart's extent - graph it, pivot table it, aggregate it with other data from other trading partners, export it to Quicken, whatever.
What if you were the CIO of a large freight company? You might be interested in allowing your large corporate customers to import their deliveries into Excel from your track-and-trace system.