MS Office vs. Quickoffice: BYOD could win the battle

Summary:Google's purchase of Quickoffice is an obvious move to compete with the upcoming Windows 8 and its access to genuine Office apps.

The purchase of Quickoffice by Google is a brilliant move to compete with Microsoft and the imminent launch of Windows 8. Microsoft has an advantage with the Office brand, and Windows 8 will bring it to the tablet in an official way. Google has to do something to compete with mobile Office, and Quickoffice is a good start.

Quickoffice isn't Microsoft Office but it can work with Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents so well that for many it's just as good. It doesn't match Office apps feature for feature, but it does handle most Office documents nicely. In addition to editing Office documents, Quickoffice also outputs files in Office formats. In many cases documents created/edited by Quickoffice are indistinguishable from those coming from actual Office apps.

Google knows that the Office brand is a big advantage for Microsoft, something that will be used to full benefit with Windows 8. Even Windows RT will come with a subset of Office apps installed, kind of a Quickoffice for Windows. It won't be surprising if Google integrates Quickoffice into the very core of Android, leveraging the purchase for the platform. It will almost certainly be tightly integrated with Google Drive, the cloud repository for Google Docs.

The upcoming battle between Office and Quickoffice will be interesting to watch, and the bring your own device (BYOD) movement may play a big role in the tussle. More tablets, phones, and laptops are coming to the workplace through individual purchases, aka BYOD, and the ability to work with Office docs could be key.

If Microsoft wants to see Windows 8/RT hit the ground running, the BYOD crowd could be vital to see that happen. A case could be made that Windows will work better with corporate systems than Android or iOS. An even better case would exist if Microsoft could convince the enterprise that genuine Office should be required for BYOD programs.

This shouldn't attract the anti-trust people as Microsoft wouldn't be directly forcing anyone's hand to use genuine Office. It just needs to convince corporations that only real Office will do and let them do the stiff-arm tactics. If BYOD programs start requiring Office on devices that workers bring to the office, Windows 8 will have a tremendous advantage.

This depends on whether Microsoft brings out Office for Android or the iPad as rumors constantly indicate. While that would make business sense for the Office business unit, the Windows BU would be much better off if Office sticks to Windows 8, at least until Windows 8 get going. If that happens the growing BYOD movement could help move Windows 8 right from launch, and Office could be a big reason.

Topics: Microsoft


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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