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The Real Office Live: Zoho Bridges Online And Offline Office Apps

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Zune May Stand A Chance

Zoho, the online Office suite company, will launch a Microsoft Office plugin today that will allow users to save documents directly to their Zoho account from Microsoft Office and Excel.

The company is also announcing open APIs and a partnership with Desktopize to create virtual folders that allow users to save files to their Zoho account directly from their desktop.

Raju Vegesna, who calls himself the evangelist of Zoho, discussed the news with us last night and said that the company is essentially beating Microsoft to what it should have already done with Office Live, which is bridge the gap between offline and online office applications.

“Office Live has no web-based spreadsheet or word processor,” Vegesna said. “So I can send you the plugin so you can just put in your Zoho account details and you can use it as if you’re using the Office itself.”

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The new plugin will enable users to save and collaborate from Word or Excel (but not PowerPoint yet – that is in the works), as well as open existing Zoho documents in Word or Excel.

Vegesna said that Zoho did not have to work closely with Microsoft to build the plugin because Microsoft “documentation is fairly open.” It is compatible with Office 2000, 2003, and 2007.

Desktopize Icons and Shortcuts.jpgSaving documents to two places is a hassle so the plugin, as well as the “desktop icons” will allow users to avoid visiting the Zoho site quite as often.

“People are asking for this,” Vegesna said. “Currently they have to go to Zoho.com, login, and upload documents. We have them doing this an average of five times per day. This will let them go straight to Zoho without having to go to Zoho.com, upload, etc.”

Zoho’s decision to open APIs was so that other developers could integrate Zoho into their applications, such as storage Web sites like Omnidrive or Box.net.

When Zoho last spoke with TechCrunch, the company had approximately 100,000 users. Vegesna estimates that the number is closer to 150,000 now.

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