With the impending business launch of Microsoft's Office 2010 on Wednesday, rival Google is telling businesses to keep the Office they have -- and add Google Docs, not 2010. The counter-strike comes as Microsoft's newest version of its crown jewels will feature free online versions, a clear competitor to Google's in-the-cloud productivity suite approach.
Google Enterprise President Dave Girouard told news media that "Google Docs works quite well with Office and, in fact, it makes Office better." He pointed to opposite approaches between the companies -- Microsoft is adding online components to its desktop applications, while Google offers online apps that do not need a desktop version.
'No One Has To Buy Software'
Girouard said adding Google Docs to the old Office version is not so much a pitch from Google as it is an echo of what he hears his customers are doing.
Salesforce.com's CEO and cofounder Marc Benioff has also chimed in on the competition between the two giants -- on Google's side.
"No one has to buy software anymore," he told USA Today. He said software has gone online because "users are just completely frustrated with the lack of innovation that has occurred in traditional business software," noting that Microsoft's SharePoint and IBM's Lotus Notes are designed "for systems whose days are gone by."
Benioff reiterated his oft-repeated conviction that we are now in the second generation of cloud computing for business, which he calls Cloud 2.0. This era, he has said, is designed for BlackBerrys, iPhones and iPads, and its central functionalities are "collaboration, social computing, communication, entertainment and information management."
The Office 2010 suite will include a free, but limited, online component. The consumer version will be available in June.
Is .doc Obsolete?
Sheri McLeish, an analyst with Forrester Research, said Google "has an uphill battle" to compete with Microsoft Office in business settings, which explains the keep-Office-but-use-Google approach.
She said a recent survey by Forrester of large enterprises found about 80 percent of IT departments were supporting the use of Office 2007 and 50 percent were supporting Office 2003, with some obvious overlap. About one-third said they would upgrade to Office 2010 within the next year. Google's productivity apps were being supported by only about four percent.
McLeish noted that the number-one driver for Office 2010 adoption is that it is part of those companies' existing licensing agreement with Microsoft. Other drivers, she said, included the web apps and improvements in Outlook. "My sense," she said, "is that 2010 won't be as disruptive as 2007, which had changes to the interface."
"It's possible individuals may choose to use Google Docs," she said, but she also pointed out that the case for Google is stronger for new companies that haven't already invested heavily in Office.
"If someone is starting a business today," McLeish said, "they would be foolish not to look at Google." She noted that, in some ways, the .doc format of Word is "becoming obsolete," with blogs, e-mail, even tweeting being the container for much content created by businesses.
Posted: 2010-05-12 @ 1:38pm PT
It's hardly surprising that Salesforce.com is mirroring the Google view. After all, they both rely on customers who are silly enough to link the success of their business to the availability of a cloud service that has been shown to be insecure and less reliable than the MS model due to the number of critical dependencies in connectivity and service supplier availability.
Posted: 2010-05-11 @ 1:25pm PT
HAHA if someone were IN business today, they'd be foolish to try Google Docs.
Users want offline access. Even if they don't neccessarily need it, they want it, and use it OFFLINE. Not to mention how many apps and macros there are for Word, in 2003, 2007 and 2010. MS tied the offline with the online. Google fails.
Google has even failed just to maintain ONLINE status. Those who have tried to go to Google cheering and full of propaganda, came back with heads down and tails between their legs.
Sorry, but that's just from EXPERIENCE, not some tech writer that hasn't kept a job at a corporation or done any contracting and rolled out projects.
Yes, I'm being mean, but I and many others are tired of inexperienced jerks who write with NO experience in collaborating users and who is a known "Mac guy."
Oh, and Google loves to post these in its front-page news (as if we really believed articles like this are drawing the most traffic!)