NetSuite (NYSE: N) is SaaS-y (software-as-a-service). So are (NYSE: CRM), RightNow Technologies (Nasdaq: RNOW), and SuccessFactors (Nasdaq: SFSF).

But Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)? The company that might as well have invented the idea of installing software on a PC is adopting software-as-a-service? Yep.

Earlier today, Microsoft confirmed that it would soon release a beta version of a collection of subscription-based software that resembles a lightweight Web version of its popular Office productivity applications. Code-named "Albany," the suite enables users to store and share documents with other networked users from a single interface, trade magazine PC World reports.


To be fair, though, this could simply be a response to the sweeping industry adoption of SaaS. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has its own suite in Google Apps, which now includes hooks into (Nasdaq: AMZN), meanwhile, just rolled out new features and support for users of its suite of Web services.

And let's not forget that, for Microsoft, SaaS isn't exactly new. Browser-based Windows Live has been in play since 2005, featuring neat tools such as Spaces. Among other things, Spaces allows users to create handy software widgets similar to what you'll find in Mac OS X.

But widgets are small-time, and Mr. Softy knows it. Now he's going bigger -- and, if press reports are to be believed, better.

You were right, Google. You dohave something to fear. But that something isn't Microhoo ... It's MicroSaaS.

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Fool contributor and and Rule Breakers writer Tim Beyers owned shares of SuccessFactors at the time of publication. You can find Tim's portfolio here and his latest blog entry here. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is pleased to report that it found no rogue trades during spring cleaning.