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ThinkFree Sees Opportunity From Dissatisfied Microsoft Office Users

The developers of ThinkFree, the Microsoft Office online clone that is reportedly the object of Google's affection if not acquisition dreams, see Microsoft's new Office 2007 as an opportunity and not as a competitive threat.

"We think a lot of Microsoft users will find the new Office 2007 interface very difficult," said Kang Tae-jin, CEO of the Korean firm, in an interview. "A lot of users will get turned off by this. So we'll stick to the old look." Kang said ThinkFree will remain compatible with Microsoft's new version of the office software

Kang was interviewed after he returned to Silicon Valley from Korea, where reports circulated that a Google team was discussing acquisition. Asked to comment on the Google acquisition reports, Kang said he couldn't discuss the issue.

However, he was loquacious when it came to discussing ThinkFree. He said some 220,000 users have registered to use the online product that mimics Microsoft's Word, Excel and PowerPoint functions that form the basis of Microsoft's ubiquitous office software.

Kang said the sign-up rate for ThinkFree has picked up in recent days due to the reports from Korea of Google's interest in ThinkFree.

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