oneDrum‘s founders have announced at The Next Web Conference today that their Microsoft Office collaboration platform is entering public beta.

The platform is using Office as a proof-of-concept, but co-founder Jasper Westaway explains that the concept was for an all-encompassing collaboration platform that developers could extend for just about any application. Part of the public beta launch is an accompanying private beta for an API enabling developers to hook up their web and desktop applications with oneDrum’s collaborative features.

Investors are certainly excited about oneDrum. It’s secured GBP 700,000 in funding and has already knocked back several acquisition offers from large US-based companies.

After the recent Amazon EC2 outage, many companies are more cautious about putting their enterprise platforms in the hands of third-party servers. oneDrum skirts around this problem by using peer-to-peer technology in place of central servers, meaning uptime is only affected when a participant can’t get online.

Finding great collaboration platforms is a difficult task. We look forward to seeing what developers do with the new API. I’ve got a feeling we’re about to see a lot of desktop apps get collaborative as this United Kingdom startup makes it easier than ever to include that feature set in apps without extensive development time.