Hmm, now that's an interesting one. First, Confluence 4.2 doesn't support IE, so that's going to be an issue, and you're probably on too high a version of Firefox too. Second, I've a niggling feeling that certain calls are needed to do the direct open-in-office, and some browsers are shutting them down for security and obsolescence reasons (Chrome is ahead on this one - NPAPI calls were binned a while ago) Third https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONF-30739 was logged for Confluence 5.2, but may well apply to earlier versions too.
We following these instructions and now are able to edit excel and docs with Chrome. It is really useful and quite easy! http://kb.interworkscloud.net:80/display/shareit/10912819/WEO2f3c554cbe1c49baa03dd8f73512a9eeXJT Pelagia
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