Google: Firms can 'get rid' of Office in a year

Google: Firms can 'get rid' of Office in a year

Summary: Search giant sets sights on office software leader, Microsoft Office, with "30 to 50 updates" to be released for Google Docs next year, says top exec.

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TOPICS: Software, Apps, Microsoft
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SINGAPORE--In a year, most enterprises will have the choice to "get rid of [Microsoft] Office if they chose to", suggests Dave Girouard, president of Google's enterprise division.

Girouard, one of the company's four presidents including founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, said in an interview with ZDNet Asia that he expects Google's online document application, Google Docs, to reach a "point of capability" next year that will serve the "vast majority's needs".

He acknowledged that Docs is currently "much less mature" than Google Mail or Calendar. "We know it. We wouldn't ask people to get rid of Microsoft Office and use Google Docs because it is not mature yet," he said.

But, this is expected to change in a year, when the company's introduces some "thirty to fifty" updates to Docs to beef up the SaaS (software-as-a-service) office suite. These will include updates to features and performance, Girouard said.

"That having been said, I don't think Office will entirely disappear," he added. Instead, Microsoft's offering will become a specialized offering for office workers who need its additional functions, akin to Adobe Photoshop, which is targeted at skilled workers, said Girouard.

Microsoft Office is "an overkill tool for most people", he noted.

Microsoft recently released Exchange 2010, the first product to be updated within its Office suite, and announced price cuts to its SaaS Office offerings.

Girouard admitted Google Docs is "not perfect" at retaining the intricacies of other document formats imported into the platform, but he said it "will get there".

Eventually, he added, market demand will push vendors away from proprietary formats entirely, making this barrier less of a likelihood in future.

Users demand format agnosticism
People who have grown up in the Internet age, having been exposed to the ideals of open formats, have developed "strong beliefs" in user ownership of data--"what data [users] want, when they want to take it back and what app they want to use", he explained. These ideals will be carried into enterprises as this generation matures, he added.

A document format feud was sparked off in 2007 with Microsoft's creation of a document standard it called, OOXML (Office Open XML), to rival community-developed ODF (Open Document Format).

The debate between open format proponents and supporters of Microsoft's format reached a peak last year when OOXML attained ISO (International Organization for Standardization) ratification.

Joining in the support for ODF, Google had labeled OOXML "insufficient and unnecessary" in February last year.

But, the world is past this issue, according to Girouard. "I don't know if we're too worried about pushing ODF. That's sorting itself out.

"The way the world is heading, that's less of an issue everyday... The ability for a vendor to determine what software users can use to access data is going away," he said.

Topics: Software, Apps, Microsoft

Victoria Ho

About Victoria Ho

Victoria Ho is a tech journalist based in Singapore, whose writing has appeared in publications such as ZDNet, TechCrunch, and The Business Times. When she's not obsessing about IT, you can find her tinkering with music and daydreaming about which guitar to buy next.

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  • Google: Firms can 'get rid' of Office in a year

    Google wishes.

    The president of Google's enterprise division may be right, but not in the way he would like.

    MS Office Web Apps could replace the desktop software for some users next year:-

    http://www.timacheson.com/Blog/2009/sep/microsoft_launches_office_web_applications

    Furthermore, a FREE version of MS Office software, the new "Starter" edition, will be available by then:-

    http://www.timacheson.com/Blog/2009/sep/microsoft_launches_office_web_applications?comment=172#comment172

    Open Office is not good enough to replace MS Office or even MS Office Web Apps. Google Docs is even worse, and the security failures with Google Docs to date are enough to ensure that Google Docs can never enter the mainstream, which should come as a relief to us all:-

    http://www.timacheson.com/Blog/2009/aug/google_apps_are_a_risk_for_business_users
    anonymous
  • Google: Firms can 'get rid' of Office in a year

    Google wishes.

    The president of Google's enterprise division may be right, but not in the way he would like.

    MS Office Web Apps could replace the desktop software for some users next year:-

    http://www.timacheson.com/Blog/2009/sep/microsoft_launches_office_web_applications

    Furthermore, a FREE version of MS Office software, the new "Starter" edition, will be available by then.

    Open Office is not good enough to replace MS Office or even MS Office Web Apps. Google Docs is even worse, and the security failures with Google Docs to date are enough to ensure that Google Docs can never enter the mainstream, which should come as a relief to us all:-

    http://www.timacheson.com/Blog/2009/aug/google_apps_are_a_risk_for_business_users
    anonymous
  • RE: Google: Firms can 'get rid' of Office in a year

    As for Open Office not being good enough. I have to whole heartedly disagree. And I have as back two organizations (one 2,700 users, the other 2,200 users) who made the switch. And by the way, they also switched from Windows to Linux. In the one firm, all staff received bonuses last year for increased productivity while two of their closest competitors shut their doors. Not only are these technologies good enough, they are a competitive advantage for firms who plan the migration properly.
    anonymous
  • RE: RE: Google: Firms can 'get rid' of Office in a year

    I agree with you. I used the OpenOffice API over the last year to create an alternative to Microsoft Office on several applications and I can assure that OpenOffice is capable of doing the job.
    anonymous
  • Google: Firms can 'get rid' of Office in a year

    I think Google needs to analyze that just saying is not worth pretty much users are afraid of the beta word then the shift it would take a long time...

    http://thetechnologycafe.com/google-claims-that-you-can-get-rid-of-office-in-a-year/
    anonymous
  • Users may not agree

    The only people triumphantly declaring the demise of Microsoft Office are those who do not depend on it for mission critical tasks. The fact of the matter is there is NOTHING out there that comes even close to Office 2007 for the vast majority of power user jobs. No one in their right mind looking to land that big deal would submit their carefully planned and structured submission to the execs in OpenOffice format, or worse, Google Docs. How to fail at the finish line.
    anonymous
  • RE: Users may not agree

    (1) Office software is not "mission critical".

    (2) No one in their right mind would looking to land that big deal .... would submit their document in anything other than PDF format .... which can be created quite nicely from Google Docs, OpenOffice and even MS Office with a PDF printer.
    anonymous
  • Google: Firms can 'get rid' of Office in a year

    Google docs is fine if you run a flowershop - the reality is that their application suite lack enterprise functionality, interop, security, and other key functionality. Businesses that swithc will lose competitiveness and see reduced employee producitivity.
    anonymous