Microsoft retaliates against Google Documents

Google launched its Documents service back in February, offering a simpler but free and web-based alternative to Microsoft's Word and Excel applications. The Redmond giant has now awakened from its slumber with the launch of Microsoft Office Live Workspace, as CNet reports.

Like Google Documents, Office Live Workspace is intended to be a free, web-based effort. However, there are a few caveats so far. The software isn't completed yet; Microsoft merely lets users sign up for a beta testing program. Also, it's not cross-platform; attempting to sign up with a browser other than Internet Explorer produces an error message. Most importantly, Office Live Workspace doesn't allow users to edit documents—just store, view, and share them.

As CNet explains, Office Live Workspace is part of Microsoft's "software plus services" strategy. As such, it's intended to be a complement to Office, not a lightweight replacement like Google Documents. However, Microsoft has suggested it may eventually add an editing feature somewhere down the road.

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