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Microsoft challenges Gmail with newly polished Hotmail

The new version of Hotmail will be launched during the summer and will offer several improvements regarding the handling of documents.

According to Microsoft’s product manager for Windows Live, Dharmesh Mehta, the new version of Hotmail will make it possible to open Office documents such as Word and Excel documents directly in the browser.

Hotmail is the latest in a line of new web-based services that Microsoft has launched recently. A couple of weeks ago, a test version of Microsoft Docs was launched which is a direct challenge to Google Docs.

– Google has done a good job of integrating Gmail and Google Docs, but the service lacks the ability to convert Office documents in a satisfactory way, says Dharmesh Mehta.

Users of Hotmail will be able to store documents on Microsoft’s online disk, Skydrive. The service will also offer the possibility to share documents in user groups.

During the year, Microsoft will release Office Web Apps, a web version of the office suite Office that will be free and offer limited versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

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