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Microsoft Jumps the Cloud to Share Space With Google

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer gives his Keynote speech for the Consumer Electronics Show, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

    Feeling the pressure of Google Docs clouding up its breathing room, Microsoft officially launched its Office 365 service Tuesday.

    The new cloud-based service will allow techies to use Microsoft Office applications, such as Word and Excel, online or download the programs to their computers for a fee ranging from $2 to $27 per user per month.

    Microsoft says it has more than 1 billion people around the world using its Microsoft Office suite but the tech giant has recently seen Mountain-View based Google eat up some its market share with its cloud-based Google Docs.

    Tuesday's launch of Office 365 is seen as a direct attempt to lure some of those users back in and to fortify Microsoft's base in a market that is considered a $20 billion industry for the company.

    Microsoft will host the programs at its own data centers.