SAN FRANCISCO — Google is escalating its rivalry with Microsoft with the purchase of Quickoffice, the maker of a widely used mobile application for working on documents created in Microsoft’s programs for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations.
The deal disclosed Tuesday gives Google Inc. a new weapon to foil Microsoft Corp. as more people get work done on smartphones and tablet computers. Quickoffice makes those devices compatible with Microsoft Office even if the software suite is not installed on them.
Although it makes virtually all of its money from online advertising, Google already has spent several years trying to siphon sales away from Microsoft by offering its own suite of Office-like programs that are accessible over the Internet. Some of these applications, called Google Docs, are given away for free, while more sophisticated versions, called Google Apps, are sold in subscription packages costing $50 annually per user.
Without providing details, Google said in a Tuesday blog post that it intends to incorporate Quickoffice in its paid, Apps suite.
Microsoft dismissed Google’s challenge. ‘‘Google Apps require compromise and don’t meet the productivity needs of most people and businesses,’’ said Clint Patterson, director of communication for Microsoft’s Office division. ‘‘Google’s primary focus is advertising so it’s not surprising that they are trying to address the limitations of Google Apps through acquisition.’’
Quickoffice works on several types of devices, including Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad and those running Google’s Android software.