Not content with its headline-grabbing purchase of YouTube, search giant Google has taken a swipe this week at Microsoft. Merging its online word processing and spreadsheet functions, Google hopes to entice more users of office software to do their business online -- and for free.
The decision will likely mean the end of the stand-alone product Writely for Google, and instead offers users a one-stop "Docs and Spreadsheet" option.
Last month, there were rumors that Microsoft may begin offering Web-based versions of its popular Works suite, a scaled-down version of its dominant Office software. This came in the wake of a Google announcement of an application bundle that was widely heralded as Google Office 1.0, but was conspicuously missing word processing or spreadsheet features.
Still, with open source (and free) competitors available, paying for an online Works may be met with resistance.
Google, too, has stiff competition for its free online applications, since both Zoho and Thinkfree offer full-service alternatives.