In an interesting turn of events, Microsoft made an announcement at this week’s Facebook developer conference. Fighting hard to stay afloat in a predominantly social world, Microsoft announced, an app that will allow Facebook users to share and collaboratively edit MS Office Documents. Should Google be worried?


The brainchild of FUSE labs, allows all Facebook users (now approaching the 500 million mark) to create, share and discover Microsoft Office documents with friends in their network. Users can also switch documents back and forth between the Web and desktop, infusing Microsoft’s latest efforts to move Office online with some high-demand social aspects.

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Game On

When it comes to productivity apps, Microsoft has held the number one tried-and-true default status for a long time, but Google is quickly becoming the king of a newly vital concept: online collaboration. The world done gone social, and Big G has spent much of this year playing on that development by aggressively dressing up Docs with perks aimed at attracting small businesses looking for better collaborative solutions. 

On the official page, the team exclaimes, "Finally docs can be friendly too!" "Finally" is right. Much to the dismay of desktop fans, we’ve noted several times the threat Google’s moves pose to Microsoft’s Office market. For example, the recent Google Docs overhaul was a direct request for more enterprise attention, bringing along a new infrastructure that enables Google Docs to look and behave more like traditional word processing software. The real kicker, however, was the inclusion of Wave-like collaborative features, which enable up to 50 people to simultaneously work on a document as well as flow charts, schematics and diagrams. 

Learning Opportunities's integration of a social network that gets more hits than Google will likely quell some of those fears and hopefully bring Microsoft up to speed. 

Who's Fighting?

Interestingly, it appears Microsoft is avoiding the 'Google Docs Killer' title. Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet asked for Microsoft's position on the nickname, and was given the following:

The name expresses the value of the service – the ability for individuals to discover, create and share Microsoft Office “documents” (e.g. “docs”) that they’re already familiar with on Facebook. It’s Docs…for Facebook. Using Office, a Facebook user can easily create, view and share documents with friends and family regardless of whether they have the Office desktop software loaded on their machine.Those documents will always have the polish and finish of Office as they move easily from the cloud to the desktop to a mobile device and back. No one else provides this type of seamless experience across the PC, mobile phone and browser.

Meanwhile, Google is kicking out solutions that directly suggest switching over from Microsoft (remember the Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange tool?). 

Do you think there's room for both of these big heads in the workplace?