If we take Google CEO Eric Schmidt at his public words, Microsoft Office is welcome at the Google Apps table.
But what about OpenOffice.org? Will the Google chief’s we can all get along in the cloud PR stance apply as well?
"FREE OFFICE SUITE" is the succinct, but powerful, value proposition of OpenOffice.org: "A multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute."
OpenOffice.org is both a fully-featured office suite compatible with leading office products, and a virtual community working through OpenOffice.org's numerous projects. The community comes together at www.openoffice.org to develop, support, and promote the use of OpenOffice.org.
Hard to top? So suggests ZDNet commenter Hawk318:
Why would anyone even think of 'paying' for something like Google's (or even MS's) version of Office, when "Open Office" is fully functional and does most of what either of the above does?I got MS Word included when I purchased this PC, but my next PC I'm building and will run Open Office...... Free, working, and functional, beats expensive, flawed and questionable every time.
OK for the PC, perhaps, but what about the rising cloud? OK there too?
“Bringing OpenOffice to the Internet,” Mahdi Abdulrazak, Chief GravityZoo Evangelist, proclaimed to me.
GravityZoo has a vision and views its work as a mission:
Founded in 2006, GravityZoo might become the so dreaded paradigm shift in the Software industry, allowing a true Software as a Service revolution outside of the Browser. The GravityZoo vision is about the convergence of SaaS, SOA and Web 2.0. Applications run in the network and no longer limited to a server or a client computer. This allows both applications and information becoming totally OS and device independent. The latter ultimately resulting in a secure ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence environment.
The Internet promised us all applications and information anywhere, anytime, anyplace. About 10 years after this promised (r)evolution started, we still don't see this so eagerly anticipated development. In reality we still see a dominance of locally installed applications and functionally very limited Web applications.The complete opposite can be stated for The GravityZoo Framework. In essence, we envision revolutionizing the global IP network.
- Intelligent devices will become part of the global IP network forming the GravityGrid consisting of PCs, Handhelds, PDAs, Microwaves, etc.
- On the GravityGrid, applications will become available as Services approachable for and via any device.
GravityZoo Framework allows all software applications to run as services (SaaS) in an IP Network and provides a standard to interface the generated output with the rest of the "World" at anyplace, anytime and across any device.
In March, GravityZoo Company released Beta1 of the GravityZoo Framework, including the GravityZoo Client for Windows; A small software stack that opens the gateway to the GravityZoo Framework of which the Client becomes an integral part.
Abdulrazak is now evangelizing a GravityZoo “OpenOffice.org porting project.”
I asked Abdulrazak to discuss the objectives of his company’s OpenOffice project and how the Office Suite market might be impacted.
DIGITAL MARKETS: From an average person's point of view, an average consumer, how does he or she take advantage of the GravityZoo "porting project" with OpenOffice.org?
ABDULRAZAK: When OpenOffice.org is ported to GravityZoo, as an average user I will be able to access a full featured office suite online. I will not notice any differences in functionality and experience between this online version and the locally installed office suites which I was used too. It will also extend my productivity optimally as this office suite will become part of a complete collaboration platform which allows me to communicate, share and connect with others in real time. This means that when I am typing in a document my authorized co-worker can just talk to me and directly take over the typing in my document in real-time, it feels like my co-worker sits beside me and we are working on the same document on the same pc in real life. I can decide to stop working on the document as I have to leave the house and catch the train. In the train I can start the same application on my mobile device and continue working on my document just where I left it.
As a user I am also given the choice where to save my data, in the cloud or on my local hard drive. I am freed from the complexity of software as I do not need to download, install and update the software anymore. I can start the same office suite from any other Operating System. Perhaps this triggers me to try other Operating Systems (Linux, Mac OS X, UNIX etc) as I always have access to the same OS independent applications.
If I want, I can also re-introduce my old 368 PC (OLPC) out of the closet, install the GravityZoo client and start using OpenOffice.org as it were a Windows Vista-machine. For me this also means that I do not need to buy a new pc every few years because any new version of this office suite doesn’t require more memory, processor power or hard drive space. It’s also nice that this office suite is free to access and to use.
As a user I only need to download and install a GravityZoo (4 MB) client. Then I register myself for free. I then click the GravityZoo icon which will open the GravityZoo application library. Then I click the OpenOffice icon which starts OpenOffice.org. I am now ready to work.
DIGITAL MARKETS: What is the GravityZoo business model? Revenue model?
ABDULRAZAK: The value chain we are in, involves the Developer – SaaS enabler – ASP – ISP – GravityZoo Client – End user. Apart from being capable to develop, our position within this chain involves the delivery of SaaS-enabeling technology (GravityZoo Framework) and on the user side the GravityZoo client.
This puts us in a position to, apart from being a software engineering company, provide two additional services to the market. On the one hand we provide consultancy and training directly or via a VAR-network, while on the other hand we can position ourselves as an incubator for both FOSS and proprietary service-software market initiatives. It is our intention to provide these initiatives with the free use of our technology and SAAS-ASP know-how.
Our revenue model is fairly simple. If somebody is making money while using our free-technology we want our fair-share of the advertising fee-based revenue and in some cases we accept equity. We have chosen this model to give the Open Source developers an opportunity to generate revenue to further support their projects (a viable FOSSaaS Business Model). The code as developed by the FOSS developers of course remains Open Source and can be further developed by the community.
DIGITAL MARKETS: Will OpenOffice.org, ported, be a Google Apps competitor?
ABDULRAZAK: Yes, Because as a prime example of FOSSaaS (Free Open Source Software as a Service) OpenOffice.org will not only show that using Software as a Service can be desktop alike experience, it will also provide an entire suite of productivity tools. If OpenOffice.org can become a FOSSaaS showcase triggering the FOSS community to start moving towards a SaaS proposition, then Google Apps should start to worry.