In a move to grab a share of the cloud-based office-applications market, Oracle has launched Oracle Cloud Office and Open Office 3.3 -- two open standards-based productivity suites for the desktop, web and mobile devices.
Based on the Open Document Format (ODF) and open web standards, Oracle Cloud Office lets users share files on any system. The software is compatible with both legacy Microsoft Office documents and modern web 2.0 publishing.
"First -- good for Oracle -- late to the game is better than never, I suppose," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. "The real question is whether or how enthusiastically anyone is using -- or may eventually use -- this stuff. Sun's Star Office was never a huge success, even with the company's dedicated user base."
Optimized and Open
Looking to give both Microsoft and Google a run for their money in cloud-based productivity suites, Oracle Cloud Office and Oracle Open Office 3.3 offer applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases and drawings. With its Office products, Oracle promises personal productivity gains, web 2.0 collaboration, and enterprise-integrated document tools on Windows, Mac and Linux computers; web browsers; and even smartphones.
Michael Bremmer, vice president of Oracle Office, said the new products are "designed and optimized" for Oracle clients. He pointed to reduced costs, increased productivity, and faster innovation for clients who opt for the open-source products. This is similar to the marketing message Google and Microsoft use for their cloud-based productivity suites.
Oracle is working to make good on its promise with APIs and an open standards-based approach that offers flexibility and freedom from vendor lock-in. Essentially, clients can build a complete Open Standard Office Stack on the back of Oracle's products.
Both products allow for ubiquitous document authoring and collaboration across the enterprise. For example, Oracle Cloud Office 1.0 is a web and mobile-office suite that empowers web 2.0-style collaboration and mobile document access. Compatibility with Microsoft Office and integration with Oracle Open Office guarantees seamless offline editing of presentations, text and spreadsheet documents.
Integrating with Oracle Products
Oracle Open Office 3.3 includes new enterprise connectors to Oracle Business Intelligence, the Oracle E-Business Suite, other Oracle applications, and Microsoft SharePoint to allow seamless integration into existing enterprise software stacks. What's more, Oracle said it adds increased stability, compatibility and performance at up to five times lower license costs compared to Microsoft Office.
Oracle designed Cloud Office to take advantage of a flexible web architecture offering elastic scaling. Customers and partners can leverage Oracle Cloud Office as an on-premise, on-demand or SaaS deployment.
"Microsoft still has the clearer value proposition -- with its deeply established Office suite -- Google has more street cred in online productivity apps," King said. "And that doesn't even address IBM's Lotus Collaboration suite, which is also a contender here."
The bottom line, as King sees it, is this: At this point, it isn't clear what, if anything, Oracle can do to drive Cloud Office into the market. Just because Oracle owns it doesn't make it magic.