SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp is making its biggest move into the mobile, Internet-accessible world of cloud computing this week, as it takes the wraps off a revamped online version of its hugely profitable Office software suite.
The world’s largest software company is heaving its two-decade old set of applications — including Outlook email, Excel spreadsheets and SharePoint collaboration tools — into an online format so that customers can use them on a variety of devices from wherever they can get an Internet connection.
It wants to push back against Google Inc, which has stolen a small but worrying percentage of its corporate customers with cheaper, web-only alternatives, which remove the need for companies to spend time on installing software or managing servers.
Chief Executive Steve Ballmer is set to present an overhauled and updated set of offerings — collectively called Office 365 — at an event in New York City on Tuesday morning, underlining the company’s newfound online focus.
Google, which has had the most success in the small and medium-sized business range, says there are now 40 million users of online Google Apps suite. Microsoft does not publish equivalent numbers, but research firm comScore has estimated 750 million people worldwide use Office in some form.