Computing giant Microsoft recently announced the pending release of their Office 2013 software, further cementing their status as a leader in the new world of cloud computing. The latest iteration of Office will directly tie into the Microsoft SkyDrive, their cloud storage offering, which will also come built-in on all computers that carry the latest Windows 8 operating system.

While previewing Office 2013 for current customers, Kirk Koenigsbauer, the VP in charge of the software bundle, pushed most of the focus onto SkyDrive. Customers favorably compared it to Dropbox, a much smaller company that is still Microsoft’s primary competition in this market.

Microsoft also recently announced that the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro will only cost $40 when purchased directly through Microsoft’s online portal. This is a huge sea change for the company, which now seems willing to significantly lower upgrade charges in favor of gaining customers for SkyDrive and earning that regular, monthly usage fee. That also means that consumers could find Office 2013 carrying a much lower pricetag than previous versions when it enters the marketplace.

Microsoft also seems to be pushing the limits with how their products integrate, following Google’s approach to the cloud storage market. The new Office will work seamlessly on all Microsoft hardware, as well as link in effortlessly with Windows 8 and other key applications such as Bing and Skype. It may take a while to see if the strategy pays off with increased support of SkyDrive, but in the crowded world of data storage, even a company as large as Microsoft seems willing to take the risk.

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