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Google to plug self into Microsoft Office

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Google has acquired a company founded by a pair of Microsoft veterans intent on creating "a bridge between Microsoft Office and Google Apps".

With a blog post this morning, the Mountain View Chocolate Factory announced the acquisition of DocVerse, a three-year-old San Francisco startup that provides online document sharing and group editing from inside MS Office apps. And in a post of their own, DocVerse founders Shan Sinha and Alex DeNeui said they intend to integrate their existing plug-in software with Google Apps - Mountain View's Microsoft-battling suite of online business tools.

"Our first step will be to combine DocVerse with Google Apps to create a bridge between Microsoft Office and Google Apps," they wrote.

In June, Microsoft will officially release web-based versions of its familiar Office apps, and is preparing something called Office Live Workspace for online collaboration. But Sinha and DeNeui are looking to move existing Office users in another direction.

"From the moment we started talking with [Google], it was clear that there was a lot of shared DNA in how we approached solving people’s problems," they said. "We fundamentally believe that Google is one of the best-positioned companies to truly disrupt the world of productivity software."

The Wall Street Journal pegs the deal at $25m.

The acquisition is Google's latest effort to battle Microsoft from inside Redmond's own software. Last June, Google released a plug-in for Outlook that lets you tap Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs straight from Microsoft's desktop client. And in September, it offered up a plug-in that turns Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser into Google Chrome.

But this time around, Microsoft isn't nearly as annoyed. At least not yet. "This acquisition acknowledges what we’ve known: customers want to use and collaborate with Microsoft Office documents," a company spokeswoman tells us. "Further, it reinforces that customers are embracing Microsoft’s long-stated strategy of software plus services, which combines rich client software with cloud services." ®

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