Microsoft Tradeshow BannerTwo recent announcements have ratcheted up the rivalry between Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc.--and both could have significant implications for schools.

Just days after Google announced plans to challenge the dominance of Microsoft's Windows operating system with a free operating system of its own, intended for netbooks, Microsoft revealed that it will give users free access to a web-based version of its Office suite as it seeks to catch up with Google in online applications.

Google aims for easier, more reliable computer operation

In announcing its new operating system, Google...

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