Office 365 lets customers use e-mail, spreadsheets on a variety of devices
CEO Steve Ballmer launches Microsoft Office 365, Tuesday, June 28, 2011 in New York. Office 365 brings together Microsoft Office with SharePoint, Exchange and Lync Online for a monthly subscription. — PHOTO: AP
SEATTLE – Microsoft is making its biggest move into the growing mobile, Internet-accessible world of cloud computing in what is seen as a major effort to push back against competitor Google.
This week, the world’s largest software company takes the wraps off a revamped version of its hugely profitable Office software suite, heaving the two-decade-old set of applications – including Outlook e-mail and Excel spreadsheets – into an online format.
Called Office 365, it will allow customers to use these tools on a variety of devices from wherever they can get an Internet connection – something Google has made much headway in.
Google, which boasts 40 million users of its online Google Apps suite, has stolen a small but worrying percentage of Microsoft’s corporate customers with cheaper, Web-only alternatives which do away with the need for companies to spend time on installing software or managing servers.
Microsoft does not say how many users it has, but research firm comScore has estimated that 750 million people worldwide use Office in some form.
Demand for Web-based software services has been heating up as the cloud sector continues to grow. Now, every company, government department and local administration gets pitches from Microsoft and Google whenever it re-evaluates its office software.