This is cool. Indian software entrepreneur Sabeer Bhatia has created Live Documents by ripping of MS Office 2007. And, unlike Zoho and Google Apps which are Office alternatives, Live Documents seems to copy the Office UI in its entirety and create a fully featured office suite that is live.
What is even cooler s a downloadable plugin which seems to work with desktop MS office and allow it to become truly web enabled. It’s like google apps go serious functionality and google gears integration all in one hit.
Bhatia is the creator of Hotmail all those years ago so he sure understands building scale. In a cool twist (and remembering that MS bought Hotmail for $400mill) the greatest thing is that their ability to copy the MS look and feel is directly thanks to MS themselves. It’s because a legal ruling that concluded that it was not possible to patent the ‘look and feel’ of a computer interface. Microsoft in 1994 won a lawsuit brought by Apple for copying graphics from the Macintosh operating systems for use in Windows – be careful what you wish (or litigate) for!