Microsoft to launch web-based Office

MICROSOFT will release three versions of its dominant Office software that users can access over the Web, in the latest salvo in an intensifying war between Microsoft and Google.<br /><br />Microsoft will offer consumers free web-based versions of its Office suite of programmes, including a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software. The move will see Microsoft catch up with products that rival Google launched three years ago, and comes within a week of the announcement that Google plans to challenge Windows with a free operating system.<br /><br />Microsoft will also host one internet business version of Office at its own data centres, charging companies a yet-to- be-announced fee. Companies with premium service contracts will have the choice of running a second web-based version from their own data centres for free.<br /><br />The news came as a survey by ScriptLogic showed that six out 10 companies do not plan to buy Microsoft&rsquo;s Windows 7 operating system when it is released later this year due to cost constraints.