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While PowerPoint may be one of Microsoft's most deeply entrenched apps in the business world, the slide presentation software isn't immune to competition -- if you have enough of a foundation to make a serious bid. Salesforce acquired a promising challenger called Quip in 2016 for $580 million, and now CNBC reports that the company is launching Quip Slides to take on Microsoft's hallowed ground.

SEE: Microsoft Office vs Google Docs Suite vs LibreOffice in 2018

The Quip office suite (Android, iOS) previously included a word processor and spreadsheet, so a presentation app was an obvious next step. Gibbs told CNBC that the company has been working on this new addition for a year and a half. Unlike Microsoft Office, Quip's office suite apps are available for free (although there is a free web app version of Office that may be an acceptable middle ground for some users).

Clients can also get licensed site-wide for $10 or $25 per user per month, depending on if they have a Business or Enterprise account.

With products like Google Docs, Dropbox Paper, and LibreOffice already in the mix, you could argue that we're seeing a renaissance in the office suite world, which was dominated by Microsoft for many years before Google entered the fray in 2007.

At the least, the pendulum appears to be swinging back to a more competitive environment. However, the cost of entry remains very high; even Google didn't achieve built-in support for proprietary Office file formats until 2014. In 2018, Docs, Slides, and Sheets still lack a few features available in Microsoft's suite, but Office's prices have also remained competitive as the number of players in this space has steadily increased.

(In fact, if you're in the market for a lot of cloud storage, Microsoft OneDrive is priced so low that the bundled Office suite is basically being given away. You can get 1 terabyte of storage for $5.83 a month, if you pay annually. Compare this to $10 per month for 1 terabyte of Google Drive.)

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Like Google, Salesforce is smartly leveraging its existing user base to gain a foothold with Quip Slides. But it's also not afraid to partner with the competition at the same time. For example, files in your Dropbox account can be dropped into Quip Slides, despite Dropbox Paper being a rival of Quip's own word processor. A company needs a diverse portfolio of products to find new opportunities and weather downturns, and overlaps like these are one of the side effects.

However, despite the increasingly serious competition coming at Microsoft Office, this division of the company remains relentlessly strong. In April, Office 365 revenue was up a whopping 40 percent over the same quarter from the previous year, though sales of its non-subscription Office products were substantially down. Last month, the company reported 29 percent more 365 commercial (business) users since last year, and it's collected about 1 million additional 365 subscribers every quarter for the last four quarters.

In fact, it may be Microsoft's storming success that's convinced Salesforce -- and possibly others -- that there is enough purchasing power available in the productivity suite market for more players. And Salesforce has the deep pockets and manpower to make a serious bid.

The takeaways

  • Salesforce has announced the addition of Slides to its Quip office suite, which already included a word processor and a spreadsheet tool.
  • Salesforce says that it's been working on this for a year and a half, and that the Quip apps are available at no additional cost.

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Tom McNamara is a Senior Editor for CNET's Download.com. He mainly covers Windows, mobile and desktop security, games, Google, streaming services, and social media. Tom was also an editor at Maximum PC and IGN, and his work has appeared on CNET, PC Gamer, MSN.com, and Salon.com. He's also unreasonably proud that he's kept the same phone for more than two years.