Home Good, But Not Too Good – Microsoft Seeks Sweet Spot With Docs.com

Good, But Not Too Good – Microsoft Seeks Sweet Spot With Docs.com

Microsoft announced new features today to Docs.com, a Facebook-integrated Web app that lets users create multi-author Word docs, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations for free.

The new features themselves are not earth-shattering, but they show how the team behind Docs.com continues to improve and innovate. The question is, how far will Microsoft go to make Docs.com better before the free service starts to undermine its flagship Office products?

Docs.com is part of Microsoft’s response to Google Docs, the Web app that revolutionized collaborative editing and introduced people to the idea of letting documents live in the cloud, for free.

Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, outlook and OneNote, costs $279.99 – which seems staggering in the age of so many free Web-based productivity tools.

Microsoft seems to be hoping that Docs.com will convert free users into paid users of Microsoft Office. The company never misses a chance to mention that Docs.com is “built on Microsoft Office 2010” and has “full compatibility with Microsoft Office:”

Docs.com is just one front in the Microsoft-Google battle over office products. Docs.com seems to be combining the large, engaged (and young!) user base of Facebook with the technology of Microsoft Office Live Workspace. Workspace is a collection of web apps for sharing and collaborating on docs saved on the Web, available for personal use for free.

“The fact that we’ve been able to adapt the Office 2010 ‘Web Apps’ technology to work directly with Facebook truly speaks to the flexibility and power not just of the Facebook platform, but also of the Office system’s rich ‘contextual collaboration’ capabilities.”

The features announced today include the ability to tag a document with keywords, search for documents by keywords and authors, and a few tweaks to the interface. The changes are evidence of Microsoft’s genuine push to give users a free, Web-based alternative to Google Docs – and it’s going well. The challenge will be for Docs.com to beat Google Docs without replacing Microsoft Office 2010.

UPDATE: Docs.com is still in beta testing but I’m told you can get an invite from an existing user via Facebook. To get an idea of how it works, check out the video tutorial.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.