Microsoft signals new focus on collaborative technology tools

Microsoft announced this week its acquisition of LiveLoop and its technology to enable sharing PowerPoint presentations on the web more easily with this plug-in.

The tech giant is hoping it will be a big boost for its collaboration services on its Office applications.  Nonetheless it has a big brother competitor in the form of SlideShare, which was acquired by LinkedIn in May 2012.   Slideshare is very user friendly and deftly allows users to upload and share presentations, infographics, documents, videos, PDFs, and webinars online and which can be readily embedded.  SlideShare’s company pages advise it is among the top 120 most-visited websites in the world.  A bold boast but they report in Q4 of 2013, the site averaged 60 million unique visitors a month and 215 million page views, so going some.

Microsoft was not giving much away in in its initial announcement, but clearly the intention will be to roll it out across multiple devices irrespective of the OS. LiveLoop’s technology converts PowerPoint files into URLs that can be viewed from computers and smartphones without installing any software.  So instead of having to email large presentation files to colleagues or use an online meeting service like GoToMeeting, users can instead share a URL to start an online meeting. Everyone’s view can then be synchronized to the presenter’s slide, and the presentation can be updated at any time.  The takeover means that all Liveloop files will be deleted and become unavailable after 24th April 2015.

The productivity purchase news follows Microsoft’s acquisition of mobile email app developer Acompli in December 2014 and mobile calendar app developer Sunrise in February 2015 (both native apps).  CEO Satya Nadella is giving his strongest hint yet at a new strategic direction for Microsoft to develop more web applications with this purchase in order to make seamless working the selling thread of Windows business.


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