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March 9, 2006

Google acquires Writely, planning a real “Office Live”?

Posted by David Hunter at 8:37 PM ET.

OK, the title is a bit of snarking since Microsoft’s Office Live so far has very little to do with Office, while Writely is one of those pesky Web 2.0 startups which offers a Web-based word processor similar to Microsoft Office Word plus collaboration features. The announcement is on the Google and Writely blogs, which is as Web 2.0 as you can get, but the larger question is just what Google is up to. Michael Arrington expresses the most common theory:

This signals two things: a confirmation of Google’s desire to hit Microsoft hard and attack their largest revenue product, and that they will do this at least partially through acquisition rather than building the office suite entirely in-house. When, if ever, will Microsoft respond with their own online versions of the Office products?

Easier said than done, of course, but the real difficulty is in defining a new business without upsetting the Office cash cow. On a technical basis, Writely is built with Microsoft’s .NET as all thos little “.apx” extensions on the web pages indicate.

Filed under Coopetition, Google, Microsoft, Office, Office Live, Technologies, Web 2.0, Word

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3 Responses to “Google acquires Writely, planning a real “Office Live”?”

  1. Google to introduce online spreadsheet -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] The Mountain View, Calif.-based company planned to begin accepting sign-ups for the spreadsheet at 9 a.m. EDT Tuesday through the “labs” section of its Web site. More details by following the link. Google acquired Writely, an online word processing application, in March. Filed under Office, Coopetition, Google, General Business, Online Services, Microsoft   [Permalink] [...]

  2. Google to fill online office hand with Thumbstacks for presentations? -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] They just introduced Google Spreadsheets and purchased Writely for word processing, so all Google needs to round out their online office suite is online presentation software. Well, that can be fixed if you have the cash, and Google certainly does. Steve Rubel points to a report at ITWire that has Gartner Group predicting a Google purchase of Thumbstacks or the equivalent before the end of the year. Filed under Office, Coopetition, Google, Microsoft   [Permalink] [...]

  3. Google spiffs up free online office software offering -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Google just launched the latest iteration in their free online office offerings called Docs & Spreadsheets. Separately they already had the Writely word processor  (relaunched in August) and were testing Google Spreadsheets, but now they have combined them and Michael Arrington at TechCrunch got a sneak preview: It integrates the previously separate Writely and Spreadsheet product silos into a single control panel and admin area (the previous sites for those products redirect to This is not a deep product integration, but it is another shot across the bow of Microsoft Office. I had an unexpected opportunity to meet the team and take a look at the product earlier today along with a few other bloggers. [...]

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