Microsoft Corporation's Cold War With Google Is Heating Up

Current Microsoft chief Satya Nadella speaking at a 2013 event. Credit: Microsoft.

In laying out his priorities for Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) in a 3,100-word memo published last week, Satya Nadella signaled a coming escalation in Mr. Softy's war with Google. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains the details in the following video.

Nadella referred to Microsoft as the "productivity and platform" company for a mobile-first and cloud-first world. While that could mean anything, Tim says the context of the memo suggests an even bigger bet on the Office products that have become so important to the company.

"We have a rich heritage and a unique capability around building productivity experiences and platforms. We help people get stuff done. Stuff like term papers, recipes, and budgets. Stuff like chatting with friends and family across the world. Stuff like painting, writing poetry, and expressing ideas. ... This is an incredible foundation from which to grow," Nadella wrote, referring largely to work performed using Office apps.

No one should be surprised by his emphasis. Microsoft has repeatedly said that one in seven people worldwide uses Office in some form. Nadella has to keep as much of that business as possible, but he can't do so without first making the software accessible on any device, anywhere, regardless of the underlying OS. Perhaps that's why Microsoft has never denied reports that the touch version of Office would go to Android before Windows 8?

Either way, it's becoming clear that Microsoft won't tolerate Google's naked attempts at torpedoing Office any longer. Tim says that's good news for investors who watched as the search king has grown its installed base of Google Apps business users from zero to about 50 million at the end of last year.

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