One of Google's strongest assets are their online document applications. Google docs is fast, easy to use, stable, and very simple to work with. Of course, the fact that Google makes Powerpoint readers, spreadsheet apps, and word processing programs is not something Microsoft likes very much. That's why they are pushing back at Google by announcing their plans to take Office online.
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That's right, Microsoft will be offering a host of free Microsoft Office Web applications to give consumers another option for online document apps. This new Web Office program will be totally ad supported, and will open to 400 million Windows Live consumers at its initial release. Customers will also be able to purchase a subscription to the service thanks to a hosted offering from Microsoft Online Services.
Microsoft says that the Office Web suite will be available for purchase in either Q1 or Q2 of 2010. That gives Google a few months to do something more elaborate than just pulling the beta tag off of Google docs. It's quite possible though that Google just won't feel the need to alter anything to compete with Microsoft. It doesn't sound like Office Web is going to have anything Google doesn't already provide.
That won't stop Microsoft from trying to push it, though. They want Google's blood bad, and they're willing to do anything to get it. For the last couple of months Microsoft has been going at Google whole hog. I don't know how well this strategy is going to play out for Microsoft in the long run, but right now they seem to be making progress.