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Microsoft grabs Office.com domain in Google Apps assault

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Microsoft has registered a new domain in an effort to retain Office customers who might be considering a shift online to Google Apps.

The company grabbed the office.com domain earlier this week.

It had previously been farmed out to the Belgium-based ContactOffice Group that licensed the site name from a third-party under a sharing deal, according to Robin Wauters at TechCrunch.

The WHOIS database confirms Redmond as the new owner of the domain as of 4 August 2009. I Started Something’s blogger Long Zheng was first to spot that Microsoft had scooped up the site.

The software titan - which for now is remaining silent on what exactly the new domain will be used for - is clearly ramping up its online efforts in readiness for its Office 2010 assault next year.

Last month the company released a test copy of the next version of its Office suite for the desktop. At the same time it made rather a big deal about its Office Web apps, which will be squeezed out to users in three distinctly different portions.

One will be for individuals and organisations for free via Windows Live, another on premises intended for biz users on its Software Assurance program, and the other provided to punters as a hosted service that’s managed by Microsoft’s online services wing.

However, testers can’t get their hands on a copy of the technical preview of Office web apps yet. Redmond said it wouldn’t rock up until later this year.

In the meantime Microsoft will presumably be working hard to prettify the office.com site. Let's just hope it doesn't involve anything to do with this annoying little metallic fella... ®

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