MS, Google Wage War Over Online Office Suite, Storage

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has uncharacteristically spoken out against Google over the two firms' free online storage offers. The comments follow Google's announcement that it is extending the size and type of files eligible for free back-up.

To date, users of Google Docs had been severely limited in the amount of data they could store online. Storage could only be used for specific types of document file, namely: word processing, spreadsheet and presentation files.

Free Google Docs Storage Balloons to 1GB

The firm now says users will be allowed 1GB of free storage, with extra space available for 25 cents per GB each year. There will be no limits on the types of files which can be stored, although there's a maximum size of 250MB on any individual file. (Source:

It appears the increase in the storage limits came about because some users were using a workaround of emailing large files to their own Gmail accounts, which have much more space available. That could potentially threaten the smooth running of the mail service.

Microsoft Speaks Out Against Emerging Office Rival

In an unusual move, Microsoft has directly acknowledged the Google announcement. It's put out a statement reading "Just a friendly reminder that Windows Live has been offering its more than 450 million customers 25GB of cloud-based storage space for free through Windows Live SkyDrive since 2008."

The announcement went on to read, "For more than a year now, Windows Live customers have been able to upload many different types of files to the cloud -- including large graphic files, MP3s, PDFs, videos, and more -- allowing them to access to their files and information anywhere and everywhere they have access to the Web." (Source:

While Microsoft is justified in pointing out these disparities, it does appear the firm is rattled by Google's plans for its Docs service. It looks increasingly likely that Google wants to produce a viable online alternative to Microsoft Office, particularly for people who only use the most basic features of Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

Office 2010 The Next Step In The Battle

The rivalry will get even hotter with the forthcoming release of Microsoft Office 2010 which, for the first time, will include a free online edition. It will have a limited feature range and include some advertising to make up for the lost revenue.

Who will win the battle is near impossible to predict. Microsoft clearly has the advantage when it comes to features and reputation in the office software market. However, Google may make better use of its experience in providing intuitive applications and in making it easy to search for information within documents.

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