The world’s largest software company is heaving its two-decade old set of applications — including Outlook email, Excel spreadsheets and SharePoint collaboration tools — into an online format so that customers can use them on a variety of devices from wherever they can get an Internet connection.
It wants to push back against Google Inc, which has stolen a small but worrying percentage of its corporate customers with cheaper, web-only alternatives, which remove the need for companies to spend time on installing software or managing servers.
“It’s obvious that Microsoft has to do this if they’re going to remain competitive with Google,” said Michael Yoshikami, chief executive of money manager YCMNET Advisors. “It’s something they have to do.”
Microsoft shares rose 3.7 percent on Monday, the largest gain in a single trading day since September, partly buoyed by hopes that it can ultimately boost profits by extending its software dominance to the growing cloud sector.
“If they execute effectively and it’s adopted, it could be a game changer,” said Yoshikami. “Whether or not that will happen is a whole other story.”