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Who needs a cloud? Microsoft sold 31 million copies of Office 2010

Free Office Web Apps attracts 50 million users

By , Network World
June 15, 2011 12:08 PM ET

Network World - Microsoft is taking aim at some unspecified critics on the one-year anniversary of Office 2010, saying the product has sold a copy every second despite the rise of Google Apps and other cloud-based alternatives.

"When we released Office 2010 to the world one year ago [on June 15], our critics weren't easy on us," Microsoft Office corporate vice president Takeshi Numoto writes in a triumphant blog post that was to be published on the Microsoft website Wednesday. "They said we were heading in the wrong direction by continuing to invest in our desktop applications in addition to the cloud. Even more recently, there've been more predictions of the PC's demise. But the reality is, based on the market results we see in our sales and adoption data, people continue to love Office on the desktop and they're embracing Office in the cloud."

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Numoto goes on to write that "Business customers are deploying Office 2010 five times faster than they deployed Office 2007 [and] Office 2010 is also the fastest-selling consumer version of Office ever."

In a phone interview Tuesday, Numoto further said "since the launch of Office 2010 we've been selling a copy of Office every second."

We'll do the math for you: that's about 31.5 million copies. The number could be higher, assuming Microsoft is counting only Office 2010 sales and not Office for Mac 2011, which came out late last year.

Microsoft's biggest cash haul comes from licenses for packaged software, but it's hedging its bets with Office Web Apps, a cloud-based service that competes against Google Docs in the Internet-only productivity arena.

The free Office Web Apps, which includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote, also launched a year ago and now has 50 million unique monthly visitors, Numoto says. "We're seeing great growth and usage," he says.

Google Docs, by the way, has "tens of millions of active users," meaning people who have used the service within the last seven days, a Google spokesperson tells us.

Office rivalry: Google Apps vs. Microsoft Office

Also see: The 10 bloodiest battles Microsoft and Google fought in 2010

Despite the presence of Office Web Apps, Microsoft would prefer customers buy the more robust packaged Office software, which costs $150 to $500 depending on the version, with business customers buying in bulk getting a better deal.

But a fee-based business version of Office Web Apps will be rolled out later this month as part of the Office 365 cloud service, which also includes Exchange, SharePoint and Lync Online.

Office trouble: Microsoft cloud not ready to leave beta, analyst says

Microsoft says it doesn't disclose actual sales numbers for Office 2010, even though the one-copy-per-second figure gives you a rough idea. Microsoft does, however, say that all versions of Office combined is used by 750 million people worldwide and that Office is installed on 1 billion personal computers, not including Macs and smartphones - Windows desktops and laptops only, in other words.

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