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Google Grabs Ex-Microsoft Talent In DocVerse Acquisition

Google's purchase of San Francisco-based startup DocVerse not only builds a bridge between the cloud and desktop Office apps, it also infuses Google with ex-Microsoft talent.

In a Friday post to the Google Enterprise Blog, Jonathan Rochelle, product Manager for the Google Apps team, said DocVerse offers "true collaboration right within Microsoft Office," which means people that prefer to use desktop software will now be able to work on documents collaboratively as they would with cloud based apps.

"With DocVerse, people can begin to experience some of the benefits of web-based collaboration using the traditional Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint desktop applications," Rochelle said in the blog post.

Google may be planning to integrate DocVerse into Google Apps. Rochelle said that while existing DocVerse users can keep using the product, new sign-ups are on hold until Google is "ready to share what's next."

Google didn't reveal how much it paid for DocVerse but The Wall Street Journal pegged the deal at $25 million.

In a Friday blog post, DocVerse's co-founders, CEO Shan Sinha and CTO Alex DeNeui, said work teams often find themselves having to choose between Google Apps and Microsoft desktop apps, but the Google-DocVerse tie-up will make this unnecessary.

"Our first step will be to combine DocVerse with Google Apps to create a bridge between Microsoft Office and Google Apps," Sinha and DeNeui said in the blog post.

Microsoft says the Google-DocVerse deal is another example of customers embracing its Software Plus Services strategy, which blends on premise software with cloud services.

"This acquisition acknowledges what we've known: customers want to use and collaborate with Microsoft Office documents," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email.

It's unclear how the deal will affect DocVerse's relationship with Microsoft, or if DocVerse is an official partner of Microsoft. Xobni, which makes a plug-in that adds functionality to Microsoft Exchange Server, is a Microsoft Gold partner.

Microsoft didn't respond to a request for comment on the nature of its relationship with DocVerse.

Sinha and DeNeui are both Microsoft veterans, and DocVerse's team also includes Himanshu Vasishth, a former Microsoft engineer. DocVerse's advisory board also includes unspecified executives from Microsoft, as well as Google and Adobe, according to the company's Web site.

Microsoft is gearing up to launch Office 2010 in June, and with that release will come Office Web Apps, free Web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that are accessed through a Web browser.

Update 3/8/2010: A Microsoft spokesperson told Channelweb Monday that DocVerse is not a Microsoft partner

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