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Sabeer Bhatia tries again

business Updated: Nov 21, 2007 22:49 IST
Venkatesh Ganesh
Venkatesh Ganesh
Hindustan Times
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InstaColl, a Bangalore-based technology company nurtured by Hotmail co-founder Sabeer Bhatia, on Wednesday announced 'Live Documents' which offers on rent over the Internet software applications for word-processing, spreadsheets and presentations similar to Microsoft's World, Excel and PowerPoint.



The software is available at

www.live-documents.com

free for individuals but corporate users pay $10 to 15 per user per hour. Bhatia is targeting 10 million users by 2008.



After Arzoo, a failed attempt at founding a marketplace for freelance knowledge workers and Voi-Fi, an Instant Messenger similar to eBay-owned Skype, this is Bhatia's third technology venture, not counting Navin Mail, a voice-mail service for mobile phone service providers.



Bhatia has funding this time from Japan's Softbank, but the field is decidedly crowded. Office-based applications like StarOffice, the open-source based Open Office and similar suites are already in the race for basic software. Live Documents is also based on open-source.



Google is a major player with its own option of using basic office software and collaborative writing and editing on the Web as part of its e-mail-linked accounts, in addition to options for downloading the stuff for desktop use.



Microsoft with its Office suite of products has more than 80 per cent market share and is the leader and is already starting out with renting options.



Bhatia's offering is similar to Google's free offering, but uses synchronization between offline and online usage automatically, a feature now available with paid-for Microsoft-based technologies as well. Though Google does not offer this now.



Considering the low Internet and PC penetration, which stands at 38 million and 7 million respectively, InstaColl is not restricting the use of this software only through the Internet.



"Our revenue models include licensing of Live-Documents software and charging for those licences," says Bhatia.