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office-killer2I use Google Docs for almost all of my writing, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s pretty bare-bones compared to Microsoft Office. But that may change next year.

For one thing, Google has been making a number of acquisitions that are clearly Docs-related. Over the weekend, TechCrunch reported that the search giant is in the final stages of talks to acquire DocVerse, a startup that lets users collaborate around Office documents, for $25 million. The deal would also bring Google some key hires, since the startup’s co-founders were managers on SharePoint, Microsoft’s popular collaboration service.

This follows the November acquisition of AppJet, a company founded by former Googlers that created a collaborative word processor. (It’s worth noting that Google Docs itself was the offspring of several acquisitions, including Google’s purchase of Writely.)

Meanwhile, Google has been talking up the splash it wants Google Docs to make in 2010. Don Dodge, who just made the move from Microsoft to Google, recently told me, “2010 is going to be the year of Gmail and Google Docs and Google Apps.” Even more concretely, Enterprise President Dave Girouard said last month that Docs will see 30 to 50 improvements over the next year, at which point big companies will be able to “get rid of Office if they choose to.” Presumably features from AppJet and DocVerse will be among those improvements. I’d certainly be thrilled to see the battle between Office Docs become a real competition, rather than upstart Google slowly chipping away at Microsoft’s Office behemoth.

By the way, Google declined to comment on the DocVerse acquisition rumor (as it always does), and the startup didn’t even bother to answer my email. DocVerse raised $1.3 million from Baseline Ventures and assorted angel investors.

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