Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) Set to Launch Free Version of Office

Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) is readying a launch of a free cloud-based version of its widely-used Office product next week which will compete with Google Docs and other online word processing services.

The news comes more than five years after chief software architect Ray Ozzie warned that Microsoft needed to do a better job of engaging the internet. In a speech, Ozzie predicted that a “services disruption” would likely turn the company’s traditional software business upside down and said that developers needed to quickly make the transition.

Since Ozzie’s speech, Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) has steadily been adding cloud-based services to complement its software products. A number of smaller products such as Windows Live Sync and a web-version of Outlook have already been made available.

The new free, advertising-supported of Office “shows we’re all-in, we’re fully engaged with the cloud,” said Stephen Elop, head of the Microsoft Business Division.

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