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Microsoft working on Google Apps competitor?

Google DocsMichael Arrington over at TechCrunch caught what could be evidence that Microsoft is prepping some sort of online spreadsheet program, which would probably be a stripped down version of Excel.

Microsoft Developer Tod Hilton posted on his personal blog that he's moving from Microsoft's Global Foundation Services to the company's Excel Services team. And yesterday, he wrote that the product "has tons of potential and will probably be competing with the likes of Google Spreadsheets, DabbleDB, Zoho, and JotSpot Tracker."

A short while later, Hilton removed that text and updates his post to say that he was removing his "personal opinions." The implication is that we shouldn't read too much into what he wrote on the post, it may have just been excitement about moving to a new team. Either Microsoft is planning on developing an online spreadsheet application, or Hilton really thinks they should and wrote his post in a moment of blind enthusiasm.

Obviously there's not enough information here to determine whether Microsoft is developing online versions of other Office programs such as Word or PowerPoint. But one can dream. While we're dreaming, let's imagine that these applications would all be free.

Tags: dabbledb, excel, google docs and spreadsheets, GoogleDocsAndSpreadsheets, jotspot, spreadsheet, zoho