Microsoft this week celebrated the first year of its Office 2010 family of products in the market, noting that the office productivity suite has sold over 30 million units, a record pace that amounts to one copy of Office sold every second. And after just one year in the market, Microsoft's free web-based Office Web Apps (OWA) solution has blown past the Google Docs competition: OWA now has about 50 million active users, Microsoft says, double the 25 million active users Google claims.

"When we released Office 2010 to the world one year ago, our critics weren't easy on us," Microsoft Office Corporate Vice President Takeshi Numoto noted in a blog post marking the milestone. "They said we were heading in the wrong direction by continuing to invest in our desktop applications in addition to the cloud. Even more recently, there've been more predictions of the PC's demise. But the reality is, based on the market results we see in our sales and adoption data, people continue to love Office on the desktop and they're embracing Office in the cloud."

Microsoft's family of Office products consists of the traditional desktop suite, Microsoft Office 2010, various server products such as SharePoint, mobile apps for Windows Phone and other platforms, and now the OWA, which provide free, web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. The company also makes a version of the desktop suite for Mac; the current version is called Office 2011.

According to Microsoft, businesses are deploying Office 2010 five times more quickly than they deployed the previous version, Office 2007. Office 2010 is also the fastest-selling consumer version of Office ever, meaning that more people are buying retail versions of the suite and installing them manually on their PCs.

Looked at more broadly, Microsoft says there are over 750 million active users of all available Office versions worldwide, and over 1 billion instances of Office installed on PCs worldwide. (This includes only Windows PCs, not Macs or web apps.) Either figure represents a huge percentage of the estimated 1.2 billion Windows-based PCs in use worldwide.

Office isn't just successful on the desktop: Microsoft notes that 3 out of 4 companies in the US with over 500 PCs use Exchange as their primary email system, 70 percent of the Fortune 500 use Lync (or the previous version, Communications Server), and over 100 million SharePoint licenses have been sold to date.

Satisfaction with Office is also at an all-time high, something one can't say about lackluster web offerings such as Google Docs. According to Microsoft, 9 out of 10 users say that Office 2010 is the best version of Office ever and 96 percent would recommend it to others.

Looking ahead, Microsoft plans to launch its cloud-based Office productivity solution Office 365 on June 28, providing individuals and businesses of all sizes with cloud-based versions of Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync, as well as private versions of the Office Web Apps and mobile device management capabilities. And while Office Web Apps has been updated in meaningful ways a few times over the past year, there's more work to be done there, and one can't help but imagine how successful mobile versions of Office would be on the iPad, iPhone, and Android-based devices. Microsoft so far has refused to comment on such a possibility.

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