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6/30/2009
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Cisco Eyes Web Alternative To Microsoft Office

Online application service would put Cisco alongside Google and others in going after a slice of Microsoft's lucrative Office software franchise.

Cisco could add Microsoft Office-like applications to its growing arsenal of online collaboration products.

That's according Doug Dennerline, senior VP and manager of networking company's Web services. Dennerline said Tuesday during an online news conference that Cisco is considering building a service that would enable businesses users to create and share documents over the WebEx meeting and collaboration service.

"That is an interesting space," Dennerline said, according to Reuters. "We are certainly thinking about that."

If Cisco launches such a service, then it will join Google and others in going after a slice of Microsoft's lucrative Office franchise, which contributed $60 billion in sales to the software maker's most recent fiscal year. Google offers online software for creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets and presentations that have been popular with individuals, but have yet to gain much traction among businesses.

However, as a company with a large enterprise business, Cisco could have a better shot at attracting corporate customers. The company has been building online services on top of its WebEx Connect software-as-a-service platform that integrates traditional and Web 2.0 business applications with presence, instant messaging, team spaces, and Web meetings.

Meanwhile, Microsoft isn't standing still while others try to steal its customers. A key element of the next version of Office is expected to be lightweight browser-based versions of the full client versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. The Web Applications in Office 14, scheduled for release next year, will include the ability to edit, view, and collaborate on documents.


InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis of the next-generation Web applications. Download the report here (registration required).

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