The latest Google acquisition, DocVerse, makes a product allowing real-time online sharing and simultaneous group editing of PowerPoint, Excel and Word documents. This purchase is an additional aggressive move by Google into the cloud-based productivity arena, where it already has a substantial presence thanks to Google Apps. Meanwhile, Microsoft has ramped up its own cloud initiatives, including offering a stripped-down version of Microsoft Office 2010 for free to Windows Live subscribers. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has indicated that the company will increasingly focus on cloud-based initiatives.
Google announced its acquisition of DocVerse, which allows groups to
collaborate online on Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, on March
5. The purchase gives Google another competitive angle as it seeks to expand
Google Docs, its online productivity suite, in both the consumer and business
"For the many people who use desktop software, like Microsoft Office,
transitioning to the cloud was a challenge," DocVerse founders Shan Sinha
and Alex DeNeui wrote on the DocVerse blog.
Web applications such as Google Apps and Office "do not play well
together," Sinha and DeNeui wrote. "Most times, teams choose one
product or the other. Google's acquisition of DocVerse represents a first step [toward
solving] these problems." At the heart of DocVerse's functionality is its
ability to allow real-time sharing and simultaneous editing of PowerPoint,
Excel and Word documents.
"We recognize that many people are still accustomed to desktop
software," Jonathan Rochelle, group product manager for the Google Apps
team, wrote on the Google Enterprise blog.
"So as we continue to improve Google Docs and Google Sites as rich
collaboration tools, we're also making it easier for people to transition to
the cloud and interoperate with desktop applications like Microsoft
Rochelle added: "DocVerse is a small, nimble team of talented
developers who share our vision, and they've enabled true collaboration right
within Microsoft Office."
In the interim, Google has suspended new DocVerse signups, although current
users will be able to continue operating as usual. The Wall Street Journal cited
a source as saying Google
acquired DocVerse for about $25 million.
Google and Microsoft have been competing ever more fiercely in the cloud
space. Responding to the challenge presented by Google Apps, Microsoft is
planning to make a portion of its upcoming Office 2010 a free cloud-based
productivity platform. Windows Live subscribers will be able to access
stripped-down online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote; however,
users wanting the full scope of Office 2010 features will still need to buy the
Microsoft is also offering a mobile version of Office for its Windows Mobile
6.5 smartphone operating system, as well as rival Nokia's Symbian OS.
Google has announced plans for a dedicated federal cloud computing system
sometime in 2010, a move that likely encouraged Microsoft's drive to produce
Business Productivity Online Suite Federal, a services cloud unveiled Feb. 24
that will operate within a rigorous security protocol.
As competition between the two companies heats up, Microsoft CEO
Steve Ballmer announced during a March 4 speech at the University
of Washington that his company's
inspiration for new products and services will henceforth start "with the
"This is the bet for our company," Ballmer said. "We're all