June 6, 2006 1:40 PM PDT

Google guns for Microsoft

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"Clearly, Google could offer business customers free storage as an incentive to use its Web applications, but real demand is unlikely, in our view, until Google demonstrates strong security," Wolk wrote in a research note.

Directions on Microsoft's Helm said: "The next step is not the Google equivalent of PowerPoint, but a Web conferencing system. They already have voice and instant messaging. The next logical step would be the ability to work with presentations over the Web."

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Google spreadsheets hands-on
CNET puts the software through its paces

Whether or not big companies embrace Google Spreadsheets, enterprises are part of Google's long-term plans, said Forrester Research analyst Kyle McNabb. "The longer-term strategy at Google, I believe, is to let consumers influence the behavior of enterprises. They're starting to articulate a scheme around enterprises now."

Increasingly, consumers are affecting the buying decisions in corporations. And Web technology, from wikis to hosted applications, is being adopted inside businesses.

Google can use the attention it has among consumers to make inroads into the corporate world, McNabb said.

Right now, businesses are unlikely to uninstall Microsoft Office in favor of hosted applications, said Gartner analyst Michael Silver. The right combination of attributes could make a "Web office" more appealing over the next few years, he said.

"The value proposition of Web-based applications is that they are almost as compatible (as existing applications), almost as functional, at some point, and they're really easy to manage," Silver said.

"The question is, when do we see a breaking point (for) when it's acceptable?" he said.

Office incumbent Microsoft, meanwhile, is developing Office Live, part of a companywide effort to make money from advertising and online services.

Rather than an online Web edition of Excel or Word, Office Live is designed to complement an on-premise installation of Office.

Office Live services, still in beta testing, offer Web hosting, e-mail and Web collaboration to small businesses.

Because of its vast distribution network of retail outlets and PC manufacturers, Microsoft has a significant advantage over any Office challenger.

Google has, however, signed a distribution deal with Dell to pre-install Web and desktop search software on the PC maker's computers--something Google could expand over time with new offerings, McNabb noted.

"If Google does extremely well in the consumer market, IT managers will be hard-pressed to say 'Why shouldn't we?'" McNabb said. "That's the strategy that gives them an advantage over a lot of IT vendors."

"They have the advantage of having consumers' attention and they can use that in the enterprise," McNabb said.

Although it may appear an arcane matter, Google's choice of AJAX as its development strategy could play a significant role in its Excel compatibility, said Jonathan Crow, director of marketing at ThinkFree.

ThinkFree has written an offline desktop productivity suite using Java because that allows the company to provide strong compatibility with Microsoft Office formats, he said.

The company is also writing an online edition of its applications with AJAX, which will be less functional than the online version.

Google has been in the vanguard of AJAX usage. Its applications, including Google Maps and Gmail, helped set the bar for interactivity and features for Web applications.

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16 comments

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Look for the Google Office Appliance (GOA) someday soon...
Collaborative workbooks are far more critical to businesses than the analysts assert. I wouldn't be surprised to see higher uptake of Google Spreadsheets than anyone anticipated.

For those folks who don't want proprietary content transiting their firewall, look for a Google Office Appliance someday.

p.s., I predicted the Google Office Appliance in December of '05:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2005/12/firefox-extensions-and-end-of-windows.html" target="_newWindow">http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2005/12/firefox-extensions-and-end-of-windows.html</a>
Posted by directorblue (148 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I predict Google will go out of business if they treat us like dirt
If Google keeps ignoring its 98% source of revenues, which is us small businesses
that buy pay-per-click Ads on Google, if they keep treating us like dirt, I predict that they will go out of business. Because we will seek and find alternative sources of PPC advertising to Google.
After all they can only treat their customers like dirt if they had a monopoly on search engine as for examples air lines have on air travel. I mean it is not like we can go to a competing airline that will give us business seats at half the price
of coach seats, or coach seats that are not tiny baby size.
But thanx God when it comes to search engine PPC Advertising we have, or are getting, some new choices. Some really different choices. For example we are switching most of our PPC advertising dollars to this new search engine called Anoox which is Not-for-Profit and totally Open.
Posted by kathy_torez (26 comments )
Link Flag
Message has been deleted.
Posted by kathy_torez (26 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Previous poster either works for anoox or got fired from Google
You completely lack credibility. stop filing your stupid posts.
Posted by J. Blow (193 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft isn't going to lose too many customers
Microsoft isn't going to lose too many customers. Most Office buyers are businesses who need real programs and not just a third-rate spreadsheet. People who would use Google's office software would never pay for it anyway. Other people ALREADY BOUGHT Office so why would they switch now?
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What more?
Does this mean Google will be coming up with a office suite soon???
Posted by zxocuteboy (45 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Looks interesting for collaboration
Well, I've been trying Google's spreadsheet program, and it seems pretty good. It's not as full-featured as Excel, but the collaboration features are quite nice. I can see using it when I want to edit a sheet as a group; seems far better than email exchanges or clustering around a screen. I can see using Google's emerging suite alongside Office for collaboration and working on essential files from the road. Interesting times.
Posted by ablocker (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
are we all crazy
come on! who in there right mind would switch to this 100% No business user will use this to do any real work. It is for home users and most home users have a friend of a friends copy of office anyway and as MS start craking down on that they will just switch to OpenOffice.org. Come one MS have nothing to worry about from this and anyone who thinks so is just crazy and trying to make more of this than it should be, a nice toy.
Posted by damiandennison (55 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They're not crazy. Just Stupid Kids With NO Brains.
They obviously don't use spreadsheets. They have no clue what-so-ever about OpenOffice. Actually, they just have no clue. Butt they post a lot of "expert" rehash of meaningless pass articles and screenshots.

To these wanna-be's, they're experts in spreading ****, so spreadsh!t is a topic they're well versed in.
Posted by kamwmail-cnet1 (292 comments )
Link Flag
What more?
Does this mean Google will be coming up with a office suite soon???
Posted by zxocuteboy (45 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Choice is Obvious
Which one do you prefer: 1) a spreadsheet application that has evolved for more than 20 years, to which "web-awareness" is added (or will be soon); or 2) a very rudimentary spreadsheet web-service?

Besides, how many people is actually a spreadsheet newbie that NEEDS online sharing and collaborative capabilities?
Posted by dysonl (151 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Which do I prefer? The free one, if it works.
Microsoft spokesperson Heather Gillissen told internetnews.com,
".. [Google Spreadsheets] .. [is] like watching a time machine
from 10 years ago."

If that means that Google Spreadsheet is comparible to Excel 97,
then, IMO, Google has the makings of a winner. We have
hundred of copies of MS Office in use (O97, 2000, XP, 2003) and
not one of our users has needed any feature not included in
Excel 97.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.internetnews.com/xSP/article.php/3611576" target="_newWindow">http://www.internetnews.com/xSP/article.php/3611576</a>
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
Poll is Surprising!
Either there's a lot of Excel/MSFT haters out there or...there's a lot of Excel/MSFT haters out there!
Posted by rayted32-191126880979139043961 (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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