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OneNote for Mac was released as a free app by Microsoft this morning.

Microsoft this morning released a long-awaited version of its OneNote software for Mac, made the existing Windows PC version free, and announced a new cloud-based API that will allow any application to connect to the OneNote service.

onenoteThe initiative, initially rumored a week ago, is part of a broader effort by the Redmond company to challenge Evernote and other rivals in the market for taking notes, clipping information from the web, and syncing personal information across a variety devices. The new app for Mac joins existing OneNote software for iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and Windows tablets.

OneNote for Mac is available as a free download from the Mac App Store.

The move underscores the threat posed to Microsoft’s Office franchise by a variety of free productivity applications online and on mobile phones. It’s one in a series of major changes for Microsoft Office, including the expected release of a native Microsoft Office app for iPad.

The OneNote team wrote in a blog post introducing the new software, “As many of you have attested, OneNote is the ultimate extension for your brain, but it’s not complete if it’s not instantly available everywhere. We’ve already made a lot of progress in that direction with our mobile, tablet and online web experiences. But there was still a gap.”

We’re trying out the new OneNote software for Mac now, and we’ll follow up shortly with our first impressions.

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