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Microsoft Takes Aim at Google with New Cloud-based Office Suite

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Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is taking square aim at Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Apps with the roll-out of a new cloud-based service that features its popular Office software suite.

The company is expected to include programs like Outlook e-mail and Excel spreadsheets in an online offering that users could use wherever there is internet access. The service would be similar to the Google Apps software family for businesses.

Last fall in initial testing, Microsoft was planning per-user rates between $2 and $27. The rates would depend on the advanced nature of the user's needs, so it remains to be seen how pricing would affect Google Apps, which offers a $50 fee per year for its services.

Microsoft has faced increasing pressure in recent years to develop new products or services that can lift its stagnant stock price. Markets appeared to applaud the rumored move Monday, sending shares higher by 3.7%, to $25.20.

Microsoft also bought online telephone company Skype this spring, paying more than $8 billion. Ideally, businesses could eventually use the cloud service to video conference while sharing Microsoft documents.

According to a Reuters report, Microsoft "wants to push back against Google Inc, which has stolen a small but worrying percentage of its corporate customers with cheaper, web-only alternatives, which remove the need for companies to spend time on installing software or managing servers."

The software suite, to be called Office 365, will undoubtedly gain business customers if it can ensure competitive pricing, transparency, and high-level security.

Posted-In: cloud Google Apps OfficeTech

 

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