Microsoft's Answer To Google Docs Hits 1 Million Users

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Jason Kincaid
TechCrunch.com
Wednesday, September 3, 2008; 1:07 PM

Microsoft has announced that its Office Live Workspace Beta has reached its one millionth user. The service, which serves as both an extension to Office and a direct competitor to Google Docs and startups like Zoho, was announced last winter and opened in public beta last March.

When we originally covered Live Workspace, we criticized its underwhelming web-based text editor. Rather than focusing its efforts on improving webtop document editing, which is offered by rival Google Docs, Microsoft is trying to bolster its Office desktop suite with Live Workspace. Users are encouraged to edit their documents through the nearly-ubiquitous Office products like Word, with Live Workspace syncing changes to an online archive and other contributors.

The site does offer an online editor, but Microsoft doesn't go out of its way to point it out - during the intial announcement it wasn't clear that one existed at all. The strategy makes sense for Microsoft: with an overwhelming monopoly on desktop publishing software and almost no presence with web-based collaborative solutions, it would rather present this as an bonus feature for Office rather than a direct competitor to Google Docs - the longer people think they need desktop software to edit their documents, the better.

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