Forrester: Google still a distant Office competitor

Forrester: Google still a distant Office competitor

Summary: For all the noise about -- and from -- Google giving Microsoft a run for its money in the office/productivity market, the reality is rather different, according to Forrester Research. New Forrester data, released on May 11, claims that 81% of the enterprises it surveyed are running Office 2007 and 78% supporting SharePoint, compared to only 4% using Google Apps.

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For all the noise about -- and from -- Google giving Microsoft a run for its money in the office/productivity market, the reality is rather different, according to Forrester Research.

New Forrester data, released on May 11, claims that 81% of the enterprises it surveyed are running Office 2007 and 78% supporting SharePoint, compared to only 4% using Google Apps. Forrester also says that one third of survey respondents are already planning an upgrade to Office 2010 within the next 12 months. (Forrester's sample is 115 North American and European enterprise and SMB decision makers, the researchers said.)

Forrester analysts found that those it surveyed are thinking about moving to SharePoint 2010 before they move to Office 2010. They also found in cases where enterprises had "Office alternatives" installed or being installed, that these alternatives were more complements to Microsoft Office than replacements for it. Sometimes these alternatives are aimed at specific workforce segments within a larger organization, Forrester said. From Forrester's conclusions:

"The alternatives to Microsoft Office today do not meet the needs of the enterprises Forrester surveyed. Common end user barriers to adoption of alternatives include lack of required functionality, third-party integration requirements, user acceptance, lack of seamless interoperability with Office, and legacy content support needs. These gaps will be bridged in the coming years as Google, OpenOffice.org, and others mature."

Why are businesses anxious to move to Office 2010? Here is a chart from Forrester that outlines the reasons (with survey takers allowed to vote for as many options as applied):

(Click on the chart to enlarge it.)

The top three reasons for upgrading to 2010, according to Forrester:

  • The upgrade is included in our license program (52 percent)
  • There are compelling benefits to be gained by upgrading (39 percent)
  • We would like to be compatible with external partners or clients (35 percent)

What about the reasons for not upgrading? More Forrester survey data:

(Click on the chart to enlarge.)

The top three reasons for not moving to Office 2010:

  • We recently upgraded or are still in the process of moving to Office 2007 (54 percent)
  • We don't see a compelling business reason to upgrade (37 percent)
  • We are moving to an Office alternative (7 percent)

Google has been on a road show for the past week-plus, meeting with many of us in the Microsoft blogging/press corps to push its message that Google Docs/Google Apps has been making a serious dent in Microsoft's Office/SharePoint sweet spot. I think competition is a good thing -- for customers (in terms of giving them more pricing leverage) and for partners (giving them price leverage and more variety in their portfolios). But I still haven't seen many large businesses moving to Google. (In fact, Google execs admit ithe company only has a "few dozen really large enterprises," and keep touting Genentech as the poster child.)

Google execs note that it's interesting to see Microsoft "acknowledging" Google with moves such as the introduction of Office Docs.com (the Office Web Apps-Facebook integration project from Microsoft's FUSE Labs). I agree with Google: There is no way that Microsoft didn't think "Google Docs" when naming and positioning Office Docs.com. However, I also find it telling that Google is pushing a "we're not an Office alternative; we're a collaboration-tool complement" messaging right before the Office 2010 launch.

Who's more afraid of whom here? And who should be most afraid?

Topics: Software, Collaboration, Google, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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30 comments
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  • RE: Forrester: Google still a distant Office competitor

    Forrester assumes Google is actually a competitor. The joke is on them.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Not really.

      The joke, as usual, is on you.
      Economister
      • RE: Forrester: Google still a distant Office competitor

        @Economister I use Office 2008 on the Mac and Open Office on the PC. I keep copes of few important documents on Google Docs for a rainy day but never had any need for them. Old fashioned and PC centric I guess.
        Bill4
    • They are a competitor

      @Loverock Davidson

      A poor one, but they do compete.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • who is afraid...

    only truth is msft is afraid of the media (Vista?), and google is afraid of Bing. nothing else is meaningful in this conversation.
    jk_10
  • RE: Forrester: Google still a distant Office competitor

    Microsoft launched office live before and launched docs.com with Facebook now. Glorious Google you're shaking Microsoft !
    BoSanad
  • RE: Forrester: Google still a distant Office competitor

    Google docs is not very good. I had only problems with it, I won't bother to try anymore. I really don't understand why people always talk about it, google still need to do their homework.

    On the other hand, I never had any problems with OO.
    atari_z
  • They just confirmed

    What people have been saying for a while now.

    MS Office > OOo > Google Docs

    Some people may be fine running GD or OOo, but when serious work needs done, Nothing beats MS Office.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • iWork will rule the market

    Once iPads destroys PC's, the beautifully elegant Apple iWorks suite will rule productivity software.

    Full Disclosure: I enjoy making love to Apple Products and Furiously beating off to Stevenotes.
    Gnutella
    • You made me laugh so hard

      I fell out of my chair.
      crazydanr
    • RE: Forrester: Google still a distant Office competitor

      @Gnutella ROFL. Another Macboy who thinks Apple can compete with MS Office. Keep dreaming.
      Rahul Mulchandani
    • check reality

      iphone market is down, ipod is going to the hell. why do you think the i-what can do anything good?
      jk_10
    • RE: Forrester: Google still a distant Office competitor

      @Gnutella LOL - that's great!
      ItsTheBottomLine
  • Wow, imagine that

    Hundreds of millions of purchased licenses and billions of dollars in sales serving as the foundation of MS's profit model. And an ad-supported, sluggish, and feature-lacking alternative hasn't dominated the market yet.

    How many here thought the outcome would be something different?
    crazydanr
    • DonnieBoy?

      NT
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • NStalnecker, you made my day.

        @NStalnecker, yes definitely you did. :D
        --Ram--
        Ram U
      • LOL!

        @NStalnecker

        LOL!
        KTLA
      • RE: Forrester: Google still a distant Office competitor

        @NStalnecker

        Umn, even donniechild is not that dense!
        eargasm
  • RE: Forrester: Google still a distant Office competitor

    Apps which don't necessarily require internet access (unlike email/Gmail) will always be preferred by users in their desktop rich client versions. For connected apps, fully service- based apps may be a possible alternative but then rich apps can be connected as well. Like Office 2010 SkyDrive/Web apps integration.
    xp-client
  • A key irony most don't grasp...

    The vast majority of organizations using Google Apps are also using Microsoft Office...so they're essentially paying twice. Now that Microsoft offers their own web-based apps there's really very little reason to consider using Google Apps.

    Also, do a little test for your self. Take a Word document that has any kind of formatting...a few tables, some styles etc. Try importing that into Google Apps and see what happens. It looks like crap. Formatting destroyed, tables blown up, images gone or moved. Then do the same thing with Microsoft's Office web app. It looks almost eactly like it does in regular old word.
    marksashton