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Google guns for MS Office with billboard campaign

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Mountain View plans to slap Google Apps adverts on billboards in major US cities from today in its latest attempt to woo businesses away from Microsoft’s Office suite.

The search giant, which has been stretching its tentacles into more and more areas comfortably occupied by Redmond, will promote its $50 per worker, per annum Google Apps suite in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.

Google shies away from advertising its core search product, so it’s uncharacteristic to see the firm punting its other services.

However, in many ways it’s also a savvy biz move given the hot potato contest that’s been taking place at the rival MS and Google camps in recent weeks.

One big announcement (Microsoft’s Bing search deal with Yahoo!) has followed after another (Google Chrome OS) as the two tech titans continue to clash heads.

Of course, behind the scenes Google is desperate to be taken seriously in the corporate world, where customers remain reluctant to switch from Microsoft’s desktop Office suite in favour of a cloudier option such as Google Apps.

Microsoft's latest Office suite - 2010 - is due next year. Google may be hoping to steal a march on its veteran rival, but it's worth remembering that Microsoft has been doing this sort of thing for years, and has no compunction of pouring millions into flashy advertising - something the whizz kids at Google have never had to consider. ®

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