Microsoft aims for the Cloud with Office 2010

Microsoft has introduced the latest iteration of its Office software. An online version of the popular suite is also available in the Cloud, allowing users to access and share data in Word, Excel and PowerPoint across a variety of platforms and mobile devices.

However, Jerry Dicolo of the Wall Street Journal termed the launch of a free, web-based Office a relatively “risky” move for Microsoft.

“The new software comes as Google’s online Apps, which perform similar business-related functions to Office, have gained steam. Some businesses have switched to the Internet-giant’s software for the lower costs and fewer administrative hassles,” explained Dicolo.

“As one of Microsoft’s most profitable products, the software giant can’t afford to let sales slip. Last year, 90% of its business division sales came from Office. Its business division made up 60% of the company’s operating income.”

Nevertheless, Chris Capossela, a senior MS VP, expressed optimism about the suite’s adoption rate – which has already been tested by 8.6 million users.

“This version will be the best ever in terms of adoption speed, both because of the interest we are seeing and the Windows 7 adoption curve,” Capossela told Bloomberg.

“[But] I wish I could predict what business PC adoption is going to be…It’s wonderful to see consumers buying PCs in such numbers. That sets us up for a great consumer uptake. The business uptake will also be excellent, but businesses are certainly slower to start spending money again.”

Still, Goldman Sachs analyst Sarah Friar cautioned that any “recovery” for Microsoft would be “precarious” at best. 

“We’re in the camp of expecting a more moderate migration. It’s kind of, ‘steady as she goes.’ It’s not a raging rush to upgrade,” she added.