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Ballmer shrugs off Google in Office Apps contest

At the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2007 conference (opens in new tab), Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer minimised the impact of Google Apps could have on Microsoft Office marketshare on a worldwide scale.

Google Apps Premier Edition was launched back in February 2007 and has already captured one notable customer (Global IT Consultancy Group Cap Gemeni (opens in new tab)).

While Ballmer is yet to be impressed by Google's offerings, there are hints elsewhere though that Microsoft is preparing itself for a wave of Software-as-a-Service offerings (from Google, Zoho, Thinkfree and others) that could undermine Office's position in the long run.

Microsoft has already demoed on a large scale, (opens in new tab) web-based (but not web browser based) version of its latest office suite, Office 2007. Microsoft has also actively encouraged customers to fuse desktop Office 2003 applications with Office Live (opens in new tab) which offers value added services like Web hosting, hosted emails, a 250MB Sharepoint Lite service (opens in new tab) and other business tools.

Furthermore, Microsoft has already expressed a keen interest in offering Microsoft Works (opens in new tab) as a free ad-supported service.

So while Ballmer says he's not bothered by Google, it looks like it is just another way for Microsoft to dumb down any attempts to destabilise it.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.