With the official worldwide release of the Office 2013 yesterday, Microsoft has shifted its attention back to software and cloud. In fact, the most recent version of its leading productivity suite is essentially, Office for the Cloud, if nothing else, as it comes attached with 20GB of SkyDrive storage space.
And CEO Steve Ballmer is pretty assured of the direction the company is heading in this market.
In an interview with Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek, Ballmer said that Microsoft has nothing to fear of companies like Dropbox, even if they enjoy a nine-figure user base. In fact, he went on to call it a nice little startup — at least in the cloud storage field.
When inquired that did he feel that Microsoft was late to the cloud market, and whether it would face competition from companies like Dropbox, Ballmer put forward a pretty bold reply:
“Well, you’ve got to remember, 100 million sounds like a pretty small number to me, actually. We’ve got a lot more Office users. And actually if you even want to go to the cloud, we have a lot of Hotmail and SkyDrive users. I’m not beating on Dropbox. They’re a fine little startup and that’s great.”
Microsoft’s CEO further said that connecting Office with SkyDrive was an expected (and highly anticipated) move from the company, and in effect the logical evolution of the HTML version of Office that was launched several years back.
Still, while Office may boast 1 billion users the world over, it has seen some increased competition from challengers like Google Apps and more.
But all said and done, Ballmer is confident that this is one bet Microsoft will win in the end.