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Evernote Declares War on Microsoft Office, Lends Hand to News

Evernote CEO Phil Libin says his seven-year-old startup is coming out of “stealth mode” Thursday at the company’s fourth annual conference for partners and software developers.

The service, which lets people save notes and other digital media to retrieve later, often gets lumped in with file-storage startups Dropbox and Box. Mr. Libin wants to make the distinction clearer by launching new productivity software that attempts to challenge the Microsoft Office juggernaut and let people do more work within Evernote itself, though he isn’t disclosing details yet. That means a bigger push to cater to businesses—which Dropbox and Box are increasingly courting.

The Russian-born Mr. Libin, who is 42, also says he wants to help news publications connect with Web users and will make a “major announcement” about that. It’s easy to imagine that with tens of millions of active users, Evernote can surface news content that’s relevant to them and their work.

Evernote has more than 100 million registered users, but it’s unclear how many of them are active and what percentage pay for a premium version. The company doesn’t disclose revenue, though it has disclosed that around 70% of its revenue comes from customers who pay for premium service, which starts at $45 a year. The other 30% is split roughly evenly between the version of Evernote for businesses and, somewhat surprisingly, from Evernote-branded physical goods like scanners and notebooks.

Only a quarter of Evernote’s users are in the U.S. and Canada, and the company has been focusing on growing its staff across Asia, where more than 30% of its users live. Mr. Libin says Evernote still “feels a couple of years away from being ready” to IPO.

Earlier this week we spoke to Mr. Libin about the PowerPoint “problem,” what selling business socks has to do with Evernote, why Google is everyone’s potential nightmare, and “EverForce,” a possible acquisition by

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