Microsoft Office 2010, Google Target Small Biz

BOSTON (TheStreet) — Forget McGruber. Now we've got MicGoogle — Microsoft (MSFT) (Stock Quote: MSFT) and Google (GOOG) (Stock Quote: GOOG) are seemingly accidentally creating a bona fide small-business action hero.

Last week, after nearly a year of open development and industry trials, software giant Microsoft shipped Microsoft Office 2010. (Betas are free. Downloaded Office and Student editions start at $119. Professional versions touch $499.)

(MSFT) (GOOG) As I said in my initial review, Office 2010 is a reasonable, if pricey, upgrade from Office 2007. It offers improved security, collaboration and mobile integration. Cloud computer hipsters may shriek, but the fact is, Office 2010 has small-biz game.

Thing is, now that the product is in the flesh, the small-business office software market has taken an interesting turn. About two months ago, Google rolled out a fully redone version of its Web-based office Google Apps products and a third-party app marketplace. These upgrades not only make Google Apps run faster and easier, but Google claims they more directly support Microsoft Office content.

(MSFT) (GOOG) The idea? Google wants small businesses to use its code along with Microsoft's.

"We really do see that Google Apps can work hand-in-hand with existing Microsoft Office deployments," Jonathan Rochelle, group product manager for Google Apps told me during a recent hands-on demo down at the Google office on New York City's 9th Ave.

(MSFT) (GOOG) To get a better feel for whether Google has lost its small-business mind, my little digital world actually deployed both Microsoft Office 2010 and Google Apps side by side, for a little over six months.

Here is what you need to know.

(MSFT) (GOOG) What you get: As nutty as it sounds, MicroGoogle or GoogleSoft, or whatever you want to call this accidental two-for-one deal, is not a bad idea.

Running Google Apps and Microsoft Office together is far from perfect — more on that in sec — but without question there is unparalleled power in having both in your business. A fully functioning Microsoft Office package that runs on a desktop computer ensures that you can control and deliver top-quality documents, spreadsheets and presentations in the formats of choice for more than 450 million Microsoft users. And running Google's cloud-based Apps package really does open that data to unparalleled Web collaboration, data back-up, device flexibility and mobile support. The trick is learning to hand off data from one platform to the other — that is, doing things like importing documents, syncing calendars and coordinating contacts across your team and both piles of code.


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