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Microsoft Office in danger… not yet

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CIO Today has an interesting article written on the potential of Google Apps… It is a good initial attempt to change the business model for Microsoft but it is far from competing with Office Suite.

Below are the excerpts:

Google Docs, a Web-based platform for creating, sharing, storing, and publishing documents, has offered capabilities for word processing and creating spreadsheets, but has been missing a major piece of the Microsoft Office puzzle — until now. On Monday, Google added business presentation software, the element that many analysts said was preventing the Web-based office suite from contending with Office on a larger scale.

Google’s business presentation software attempts to answer Microsoft’s PowerPoint with a Web-based twist. The application lets users create simple Web-based presentations that coworkers can update and view from their own computers.

“From student groups to sales teams, people are turning to the Web for help improving both personal and group productivity,” Sam Schillace, director of engineering for Google Docs, said in a statement. “Putting documents in the cloud surrounded by easy-to-use features for collaboration and sharing can save people hours of inefficiency and frustration and even enable new ways of working together.”

Natural Addition to Docs

The way Google sees it, presentations are a natural addition for Google Docs because they are usually created with the intention of being shared. Web-based, collaborative presentations eliminate the need for users to manage and compile group members’ input in separate attachments, and make it possible for multiple users to view a set of slides while a moderator controls the presentation.

“Most people don’t make presentations for themselves. So it wouldn’t be like a document you would use as a record or a spreadsheet. Presentations are inherently documents intended to be shared,” said Paul DeGroot, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft. “If Microsoft is correct that collaboration is a key driver, then solutions like Google Docs may be a better fit for many organizations.”

A demo Google posted on YouTube illustrates the new application in action. The business presentation features are still in simple, early stages, the company admitted, but the Google Docs team is making them available now. Google said updates and improvements will continue to roll out over the coming months.

Microsoft Office Killer?

Along with going head-to-head with other Web-based applications, Google Docs is competing with Microsoft’s SharePoint, a collaborative Web portal that is a free component of Windows Server.

DeGroot said that Microsoft’s solution is expensive and doesn’t lend itself to interorganization sharing. “Companies developing Web-based applications are, to some extent, limiting the effectiveness of Microsoft’s most important Office strategy, which says Office tools are a great way to collaborate and communicate,” DeGroot said.

“The difficulty there is that Microsoft’s strategy really lacks a Web element,” he concluded. “Google’s solutions are inherently collaborative inside and outside of an organization.”

Personal thoughts:

A threat to Microsoft Office suite… not yet! It never will be at version one. Perhaps version 3 or 5 onwards. 🙂 And you know what my thoughts are… I think there’s nothing stopping Microsoft from extending what they have set forth to do and that is software plus services. Microsoft should extend free add on plug-ins to the Office suite and allow the extra collaborative features and storage onto their SkyDrive or other cloud services. That way, the Web element will be solved, in a way. Just spend some time and think about it… and I think you might agree with me on the solution from Microsoft might already be in works…

I think it is coming from Microsoft… to stop all this free Office suite from IBM or Sun or Google, as I have written earlier, all Microsoft need to do is to provide add ons or plug ins that allow Office Suite to be extended over the web. Services will push and pull contents / changes over the network and allow people to collaborate documents as they are stored online in Microsoft SkyDrive and be updated, just like how Google Apps does it. Except Microsoft solution will be a lot easier to implement since the client side is already there and it just makes more sense. It is more productive too as the client side are more powerful. To solve the other piece of the puzzle which is the ZERO cost needed for Google Apps, Microsoft just need to provide a free trimmed down version of the Office Suite online for every purchase of the box set version and perhaps set a limit on how many user can be assigned to share the document at one time. Then you have the competitors struggling to rethink the strategy again.

Price of the Office Suite should be lowered like that they did recently to capture the students market and with that kind of affordable price point, coupled with the cloud services, competitions will have to really try harder! Which is only good for the industry. At least they will realized that it is not just about throwing FREE STUFF around… Then again, perhaps Google, IBM and Sun or others got a much longer term strategy to topple Microsoft dominance in the Office Suite realm… and I am for that. Let the battle begins.

Click here for another review on the Google Presentations

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Written by gooddealz

September 19, 2007 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Opinions

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