Google Reportedly Ready To Launch Web-based Spreadsheet

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The Google Spreadsheet would follow by a couple of months the Mountain View, Calif., company's purchase of Writely, a Web-based word processor, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Google was not immediately available for comment.

Writely and the spreadsheet application are direct challenges to Microsoft's worker productivity software. The Office suite dominates the desktop market, but its future could very well be as a Web service.

Microsoft has said it intends to make Office and many of its other products available over the Web as part of its Windows Live initiative.

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Google has aggressively challenged Microsoft on the desktop, which has traditionally been the software maker's strongest market.

Last month, Google announced a deal with computer maker Dell Inc., which agreed to ship 10s of million of computers with Google software installed. The products included Google's search application for scouring a computer hard drive and emails, and a Web browser toolbar linking to Google's online search engine and other services.

Advertising linked to online search is a multi-billion-dollar market that Google currently dominates. Microsoft, however, is spending heavily on search to capture a larger share of online advertising dollars.