Free For All… Office Sweepstakes

[qi:014] Everyone wants a piece of Microsoft’s (MSFT) Office suite. Google (GOOG), Sun Microsystems (JAVA), IBM (IBM), dozens of start-ups and now, Adobe Systems (ADBE). The company today bought Virtual Ubiquity, a Waltham, Mass.-based start-up behind Buzzword, an online word processing software offering. I guess this is one way to respond to Microsoft Silverlight that takes aim right at the heart of Adobe.

Buzzword is the right moniker: the product is getting a lot of buzz because it has all the right words in its “game plan.” Never mind, there isn’t many people who have actually used this product? (Liz gave them a great review when they launched, but still not clear how the start-up did in terms of sign-ups and users.) How this start-up fits into Adobe’s game plan, or how it adds to their bottom line, isn’t quite clear.

That’s not important! What’s important is to play the “give an Office wannabe away for free” game. Everyone, of course is slugging it out with, everyone of course. No one really wants to talk about how many people are actually using these online offerings.

Adobe also released a new document sharing product called Share, which used Flash to share documents. You can embed the shared “document” in any web page, much like Scribd. This Share application is bound to temper some of the hype around document sharing start-ups.

Microsoft’s response? It has come up with a new offering called Office Live Workspace targeting the consumers and small business owners. Mary Jo Foley explains that this is not a hosted Office suite. It is an extension to desktop based Office and will work with Office Wannabes like OpenOffice and StarOffice.

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