Look Who Else Is Copying Google

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Suddenly, the entire tech world wants a piece of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) .

First, TheNextWeb revealed that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) had filed a patent for interactive spectacles similar to what Google co-founder Sergey Brin introduced at last month’s I/O developer conference.

Then, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) hired long-time executive Marissa Mayer as its new chief executive, leaving the search king with a high profile and understandably large gap to fill.

And finally, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , earlier this week, announced new subscription plans for its online Office 365 productivity suite. The goal? Make Office a "service," CEO Steve Ballmer said in announcing the changes. Sound like anything else you know? How about Google Apps?

To be fair, Office 365 has offered online versions of Word, Excel, and more for months now. The difference here is that, in making the suite a service, Microsoft is allowing users to login to Office 365 from any Windows 7 or 8 PC, and sync their settings, work, and so on to the current machine. Log out, and the remnants disappear back into the ether, saved to a distant server for later retrieval.

Is this doomsday for Mr. Softy’s traditional shrink-wrapped software business? That depends. Historically, Microsoft has produced and shipped multiple versions of its desktop Office Suite for both Mac and PC customers. Microsoft has yet to announce any changes to that approach, referring only to a forthcoming edition called Office Professional Plus 2013 in press materials, TechCrunch reports.

Cloudy with a chance of trillions
We won’t know the full extent of Microsoft’s cloud commitment until Ballmer is ready to announce details. In the meantime, what matters is that there is a commitment. Mr. Softy is one of many embracing the shift to the online world, creating a trillion dollar opportunity for investors who buy in early. Want details? Everything can be found in a free special report, so check it out now.

Also, be sure to check out our new premium report on Apple. Inside, you’ll receive a full overview of the key opportunities and threats facing the company, as well as a full year of updates from our top technology analyst. Learn more by clicking here.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home, portfolio holdings, and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating bull call spread positions in Apple and Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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