Seoul-based Polaris Office is launching its cloud-based software suite in the United States with the very ambitious goal (some might say quixotic) of challenging Microsoft Office and Google for Work’s dominance. The company makes desktop and mobile apps that let users create new documents and edit existing ones stored on services including Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive.
If you use an Android smartphone or tablet, you might already be familiar with Polaris Office’s mobile app; its pre-installed on some Samsung, LG, and HTC devices and currently claims 37 million users. It launched the beta version of its new productivity suite, which also includes a desktop version, in December. Since then, the software has acquired about 100,000 users.
Elbowing in as an alternative to Google for Work and Microsoft Office in the U.S. is a tall order, but Polaris Office wants to carve out a niche for itself by combining Microsoft Office’s functionality with Google for Work’s convenience, says John Lee, its vice president of marketing, strategy and partnerships.
Lee explains that Polaris Office is targeting Google for Work users who are frustrated by its limited compatibility with Microsoft Office files or who need to access documents stored on most major cloud storage services (Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, and Amazon Cloud). Its users can edit file formats including Microsoft Word, Excel, and Adobe PDF.
The suite may also attract people who are stil using versions of Microsoft Office from before 2013, since those only have limited functions on mobile devices. Users can connect up to three devices for free before they have to pay monthly subscription fees of $3.99 to $5.99.
Polaris Office is owned by developer Infraware, but may raise venture capital funding in the future, says Lee.