New online Office competitor could hurt Microsoft and Google

November 22, 2007

A new entrant has launched in the online office product arena. This latest release into the office 2.0 world comes from someone with a heritage in making very succesful web apps. The chairman is none other than Sabeer Bhatia, co-founder of the hugely popular Hotmail. Sabeer sold Hotmail to Microsoft in 1997 for $400M, so he definitely knows what he’s doing.

Anyway, I became aware of this thanks to an article in the Times.

Interesting that they have taken the shrewd step of using the interface of Microsoft Office for their product. One of the key issues with other online office products such as Google Apps is the difficulty ordinary users have in getting used to a new interface. Live Documents promises to look and feel just like MS Office and even better it has a software plug-in so that you can continue to use your desktop software and still get the best of the online service.

With everything that is being said about Live Documents in the blogosphere it seems this could be really big with the right PR.

I’m so pleased that someone has come along and shown the right approach to online productivity. Getting both online and offline functionality with real time synchronisation and integration with desktop software in a free service has got to be a big draw. The 100mb storage limit is a little low but I’d expect that to rise if they want to compete with the established players such as Google.

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