Do you really need Microsoft Excel anymore? The free OpenOffice has a spreadsheet application that you do not have to install since it can run from a USB drive.
The future belongs to mobility and therefore to web-hosted applications. Just a few examples of Web 2.0 Excel-clones:
- Google released online Google Spreadsheets in 6/2006.
- Numbler. DownloadSquad review.
- iRows. DownloadSquad review.
Thumbstacks.com is an online PowerPoint clone. It works OK but unfortunately it does not support import/export to PowerPoint yet. Zoho Show is more polished, it has a MS PowerPoint import feature but no export yet and this limits its usefulness.
You can also check the list of Most promising Web 2.0 software of 2006.
Freeware alternatives for everything. Links via DownloadSquad.com.
ajaxXLS: Web-based spreadsheet from ajaxLaunch. DownloadSquad.com.
Now, Free Ways to Do Desktop Work on the Web. NYTimes.
Zoho releases Ajax presentation app - last piece of Web Office jigsaw? ZDNet.com.