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New Web Service Looks To Push Office Off The Desktop

Entrepreneur Michael Robertson, a pioneer in online music, launched in beta on Thursday a Web service for creating documents and saving them on a computer's hard drive as a Microsoft Word file.

AjaxWrite is meant for people who do not use Microsoft Office or some other desktop productivity application, but have a need to create a Word document, said Robertson, who founded MP3.com in 1997 and is now chief executive of desktop-Linux distributor Linspire Inc. in San Diego. The new service does not have storage capabilities, collaboration features or even a spell checker, but those capabilities are planned.

The way Robertson sees it, people will eventually want to go to the Internet to write documents and spreadsheets, create presentations or do other chores accomplished today mostly through desktop applications like Microsoft Word, WordPerfect from Corel Corp., or OpenOffice, an open-source suite available for free.

To attract people to AjaxWrite, which is a product of Ajax13 Inc., a company funded by Robertson, he plans to launch new capabilities every Wednesday for the next two months. He declined to list the upcoming features.

"As those products are released, you'll see a business model take shape," Robertson said.

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