Microsoft, the “king of paid software,” is going free with an online version of Office next year, Fortune reports. “The sleeping giant in Redmond has clearly woken up to the Internet threat,” writes Jon Fortt. Microsoft is risking “cannibalizing its own Office business,” but it sees the online version’s market as “tightwads who weren’t going to buy Office anyway,” and now won’t go to Google’s rival applications, Fortt notes.
Google released its online productivity software 3 years ago, Reuters notes. “Microsoft is in a tough spot. Their competition isn't just undercutting them. They are giving away the competitive product.” The ad-supported Office will encourage users to buy the standard version of Office 2010: the purchased program will make the online applications “work better,” writes Fortt, making sharing documents easier, for instance.