Microsoft to Release Web-Based Office

Cloud offering seen as attempt to stave off competition from Google.

Microsoft Corp. is updating its online corporate software offerings to include a full Internet-based version of Office 2010 for the first time, an effort to stave off competition from Google Inc. for business accounts.

The Office 365 suite of programs will be introduced today at an event in New York with Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer. The software will cost small businesses $6 a user each month for a package with programs like Office Web Apps and Exchange e-mail software, Microsoft said. For an additional $12 a month, companies can add a full version of Office, including Word and Excel programs.

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