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iBrowse: Microsoft Web-based Office debut


Microsoft Corp. officially launched its Web-based email and Office services, part of its ongoing effort to keep Google at bay when it comes to business software. Office 365 has been available in a test version since last year. It combines Web-based versions of Word, Excel and other Office applications. It also includes the Exchange email system, SharePoint online collaboration technology and Microsoft's instant messaging, Internet phone and video-conferencing system.

Microsoft said last week that it plans to charge $2 to $27 a month for each user for Office 365 depending on what's included. Google Apps costs $4 or $5 a month. -- AP

Study: 12% of U.S. households own an e-reader

A study finds that 12 percent of U.S. households now own a reading device for electronic books, such as Amazon's Kindle. That's three times the number of households that owned an e-reader just a year ago, pointing to rapid acceptance. The phone survey published last week was conducted in April and May by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Prices for e-readers have fallen rapidly over the past year. Barnes & Noble's Nook is growing as a competitor to the Kindle. The cheapest models are now available for a bit more than $100. The survey also found that ownership of tablet computers such as the iPad has doubled over the past year to 8 percent of households.

The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

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