Google, Microsoft trade more blows over Docs, Office 2010
Google plays proprietary format card, Microsoft says rival doesn't understand the enterprise
Computerworld - The war of words between Microsoft and Google over Office 2010 and its entry into online, cloud-based applications heated up today as the companies again took shots at each other.
One analyst said Microsoft was publicly arguing with Google both to preserve its current position and its future in the enterprise application and collaboration markets.
Yesterday, a Microsoft executive hammered Google for a Tuesday sales pitch that urged Office users to put off upgrading to Office 2010 and instead add Google Docs as an online complement to older versions of the leading office productivity suite.
Calling Google's claims "simply not true," Alex Payne, director of Microsoft's online product management team, countered a Google director's pitch that Google Docs, the search company's online application suite, "makes Office 2003 and 2007 better."
Today, the companies traded new blows.
"It says a lot about Microsoft's approach to customer lock-in that the company touts its proprietary document formats, which only Microsoft software can render with true fidelity, as the reason to avoid using other products," Google said in a statement e-mailed to Computerworld by a company spokesman.
Google was talking about Payne's argument Tuesday that only Office 2010 and its accompanying Office Web Apps online components were able to handle so-called "round-tripping" -- a phrase that describes moving a document from Office on the desktop to an online app and then back again -- without losing important document formatting or content.
"We've made a lot of progress with our new editors to improve the experience of importing Office documents into Google Docs, and there's more to come soon," promised Google, referring to its plans to integrate technologies from DocVerse, a maker of Office plug-ins for online, real-time collaboration. Google acquired DocVerse in early March.
Microsoft didn't take Google's counterpunch without swinging back.
"This is about how Google has chosen to implement features, not file formats," argued Payne in an e-mail today. "Microsoft supports multiple ISO standards for file formats, and they are fully and openly documented, [but] Google simply chooses not to implement certain features, which results in poor document fidelity."
Yesterday, Payne said Microsoft's Office Web Apps have what he called "high fidelity" when documents are moved from the desktop to online and back.
"This underscores that they do not understand the needs of businesses and cannot deliver on their claim that Google Docs make Office better," Payne concluded today.
"Microsoft's concerned that if an Office alternative like Google Docs could get a critical mass in some companies, then those companies would no longer license Office across the board for all workers," said Rob Helm, an analyst at research firm Directions on Microsoft. "Companies might be more likely to tactically deploy Office only to some users."
Even more important than today's bottom line, Helm said, is Microsoft's future, which increasingly hinges on SharePoint, the server-based software that he called the company's "hub for its entire collaboration effort."
Last quarter, SharePoint sales rose 30%, accounting for $1.3 billion of Microsoft's $14.5 billion in revenue for the quarter ended March 31. The product is key to the future of Office, said Helm. "Microsoft's doing this to protect SharePoint's position," he said. "It wants to make it clear that it has the collaboration solution for the enterprise, not Google."
Like most analysts, Helm believes that Google has a hard row to hoe.
"All I can say [to Google] is 'Good luck,'" said Helm. "Google is just the latest pretender to the Office throne. IBM has been chasing Office for years with Lotus, OpenOffice has as well. Office is very hard nut to crack."
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Chicago's CIO doesn't believe in 'good enough'
- Microsoft Office 2013 fires shot at Google's enterprise push
- Google gives Google Docs offline capabilities
- Office 365 off-limits to existing BPOS customers
- Update: Microsoft Office 365 goes live
- Wyoming cuts cable, moves to cloud with Google Apps
- Microsoft takes cloud fight to Google
- Microsoft Office 365: Guide to a slew of versions, prices
- Update: Microsoft makes big cloud move with Office 365
- Google rolls out Apps for Government
Read more about Cloud Computing in Computerworld's Cloud Computing Topic Center.
- IDC: Eliminate Shortcomings in Your Cloud Architecture with Smarter Storage This white paper demonstrates how IBM Smarter Storage provides customers with an ideal, proven platform for cloud computing. IBM has a differentiated storage...
- Radicati: Cloud Business Email - Market Quadrant 2013 Google was named the top cloud business email provider in a recent report by research firm Radicati. Out of 14 key players, Google...
- Managed Private Cloud Protect and manage your entire enterprise continuously with Code42's simple, efficient Managed Private Cloud. Simply plug it in and rely on our data...
- Enterprise Cloud Deployment Strategies A powerful and highly flexible solution, CrashPlan lets organizations select their preferred cloud deployment strategy, resting assured all strategies meet or exceed rigorous...
- Video surveillance for IT: maximum image quality, minimum bandwidth Join us on Thursday, May 8th at 1 p.m. EST when Willem Ryan, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Avigilon, will discuss how IT...
- Leveraging the Cloud for Dev/Test This video discusses some of the key considerations that IT organizations should take into account when moving test and development projects to the... All Cloud Computing White Papers | Webcasts