Microsoft Corp. has officially launched its Web-based email and Office services, part of its ongoing effort to keep Google at bay when it comes to business software.
"Office 365" has been available in a test version since last year. It combines Web-based versions of Word, Excel and other Office applications. It also includes the Exchange e-mail system, SharePoint online collaboration technology and Microsoft's instant messaging, Internet phone and video conferencing system.
The latest software package comes as companies are increasingly shifting to storing data and applications on remote servers rather than on users' desktop computers. In 2006, Google Inc. launched its own suite of office software that's based in the "cloud," called Google Apps.
Microsoft said Tuesday that it plans to charge $2 to $27 per month per user for Office 365 depending on what's included. Google Apps costs $4 or $5 per month.
Survey finds e-book in 12 percent of U.S. homes
A study finds that 12 percent of U.S. households now own a reading device for electronic books, such as Amazon's Kindle.
That's three times the number of households that owned an e-reader just a year ago, pointing to rapid acceptance.
The phone survey published Monday was conducted in April and May by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
Prices for e-readers have fallen rapidly over the past year. Barnes & Noble's Nook is growing as a competitor to the Kindle. The cheapest models are now available for just above $100.
The survey also found that ownership of tablet computers such as the iPad has doubled over the past year to 8 percent of households.
Pew also asked households if they had a desktop or laptop computer, a question it has posed since 2006. Desktop households have outnumbered laptops until this year. For the first time, the two figures were within the margin of error, at 57 percent and 56 percent respectively -- a statistical dead heat.
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