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Microsoft takes on Google with free Office programs

  By TechUniverse
Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O> will release a free version of its dominant Office software that users can access over the Web, catching up with products that arch rival Google Inc <GOOG.O> launched three years ago. The world's largest software maker will offer a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software and a note-taking program with the same look and feel of their counterparts in the Office suites that it sells for personal computers. It is the latest salvo in an intensifying war between the two technology giants. Google announced plans last week to challenge Windows with a free operating system. Microsoft introduced a new search engine, dubbed Bing, last month, that has taken a small amount of market share from Google.  

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