WinInfo Daily UPDATE: December 12, 2006

Microsoft Office Competitor Rejects Google Offer

-Microsoft Office Competitor Rejects Google Offer
-Microsoft Ships Free Xbox 360 Developer Tool


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- Microsoft Office Competitor Rejects Google Offer
- Microsoft Ships Free Xbox 360 Developer Tool

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Office Competitor Rejects Google Offer

Haansoft, a Korean software firm that makes ThinkFree Office, an office productivity software suite, reported this week that it had rejected an offer from online giant Google to buy the product outright. Haansoft representatives say that the Google team that orchestrated the YouTube purchase has already met with Haansoft twice this month.

Haansoft offers a couple different versions of ThinkFree Office. One is a Web-based version, made to compete with Microsoft by offering online storage and easy file-sharing functionality; the other is a standard software application based on Java. Like many such products, the ThinkFree Office suite offers compatibility with Microsoft Office 2003 document formats and components that provide word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation functionality. The online version is free.

Haansoft says it is not interested in giving up control of ThinkFree but is open to a cooperative agreement with Google, which recently launched very basic Web-based word processing and spreadsheet solutions. Google claims it has no designs on the office productivity software market currently dominated by Microsoft, but it's been moving slowly in that direction for several months.

Microsoft Ships Free Xbox 360 Developer Tool

This week, Microsoft shipped its Xbox 360 game developer tool, XNA Game Studio Express 1.0. The product, which lets anyone with a Windows XP-based PC and software development skills develop games that can run on the Xbox 360, was first announced last August.

XNA Game Studio Express 1.0 is free and based on the Visual C# Express Edition tool, which is itself based on Microsoft's high-end Visual Studio 2005 development suite. Developers who wish to publish games they create with the suite can join the XNA Creators Club, which costs $99 for an annual subscription.

"The XNA Creators Club is really the first of its kind," says Microsoft General Manager Chris Satchell. "\[It's\] an opportunity to join a community of other developers who are empowered to bring their game ideas to life on a next-generation console system. The limits are truly endless. What users will see today is just the beginning of the plans we have to revolutionize game development one creative game idea at a time."

Microsoft is also hosting a game-creation contest called "Dream-Build-Play." The winning game entry in the contest will be published on Xbox Live Arcade, a part of Microsoft's Xbox Live online service, which will allow Xbox 360 users all over the world to play the winning game.

Editor's Note:
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