Google's purchase of QuickOffice a strike at Surface RT

Google's purchase of QuickOffice a strike at Surface RT

Summary: When Google bought QuickOffice, a full office suite that runs on mobile platforms, it was thought to be a strike against Microsoft Office in the cloud. The real target may be the Surface RT tablet from Redmond.

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When Google snapped up the company behind the capable QuickOffice mobile suite just a couple of months ago it got pundits' tongues wagging. The overriding thought was Google will integrate QuickOffice into it's cloud-based Google Docs to give Microsoft Office a serious competitor.

Larry Dignan thought it was a shot across the bow of Windows 8, specifically its foray into the tablet space that was expected. With Microsoft entering the tablet space directly with its Surface tablets, Larry was prescient. Throw in the fact that Google is now making its own tablet (Nexus 7) and you have the perfect storm for Android to take on the Surface.

Android device owners are familiar with QuickOffice, specifically how good it is at working with complex Microsoft Office documents. It can't completely replace MS Office but for the majority of consumers it is more than good enough to do so.

Microsoft and enthusiasts alike are quick to point out that the ARM-based Surface RT tablet will have a full version of Office installed. How full the special version will be remains to be seen, but it is a selling point with many looking forward to the Surface later this year.

If Google ramps up integrating QuickOffice into its Android tablets the exclusive Office support the Surface RT enjoys could be short-lived. The QuickOffice Pro HD suite for Android is already a capable MS Office substitute and Google could place it front and center in the tablet war.

QuickOffice already works with major cloud storage services, including Dropbox, Box.net, and Google Docs. It is in the perfect position to take on Office RT and thus the Surface RT. The tablet war is about to get very interesting.

Topics: Google, Android, Apps, Mobility

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  • I'd say yes if...

    Google actually made Quickoffice into a competent mobile office product. Currently, it is definitely the best looking office suite. Aside from that, it lacks many functions found in other ones (Kingsoft & Officesuite Pro 6), as well as decent compatibility with current Office documents (I've had many issues with objects/datea not displaying correctly). As it stands right now, Microsoft is set to blow Google out of the water with Office. Google needs to take drastic measures to update it's new office suite if it wants to even catch up; which seems unlikely based on how slow they are on updating products (particularly Google docs mobile app) in the past.
    lawliss
  • It is still an Office Want To Be, in my opinion

    I just read an article saying "After a nuclear war, only two things will survive: cockroaches and Microsoft Office" meaning it is the standard that most of teh world has settled on.
    DontUseGoogleAtAll!
  • Yes google docs without quickoffice sucks, but quick office isnt good

    enough to challenge office, even for kids just doing school work. However the bigger point is that even if it were or even if MS wasn't offering office on windows rt most people would rather buy a W8 tablet, any W8 tablet, not just surface, than an android tablet. Androids just too insecure and too unreliable and the W8 ux is much better for people doing typical tablet tasks. I just hope within 18 months we see an airmont based 7" W8 tablet for under $200
    Johnny Vegas
    • Don't need Microsoft Office

      Kids are not stupid, just tell them to only download applications from Google play. Android malware are more FUD than facts. I never experience malware with my android devices. I am using Google Docs, and believe me for collaboration is the best , far better than Office 365. Moreover you can now work with any Microsoft Office files without conversion. Google Drive(Docs) + Quick Office will offer much more than what I need for my productive work. I believe that 99% of people don't actually need Microsoft Office for their works. They just get used to. No to mention that if you use Google services inclusive the Hangout, Google Drive will provide the best integration so far. This said, personally I don't need Windows at all for productivity. If I can ditch Windows, I believe other people will be able to do so.
      oldman60
  • The AMD FUD

    Running out and acquiring Office knockoffs is the wrong way to deal with the issue of not having Office. Remember all the stories about how if you bought an AMD processor, your software would mysteriously blow up? That kind of FUD is only going to be worse with Office knockoffs. And if it isn't worse, Microsoft will tweak something to make it worse.

    The right way to deal with the issue is to sell a bunch of units. In Google's case, by pushing hard on that $199 price tag. In Apple's case, by doing exactly what they're doing. You have to get the guys running Microsoft's Office division to run into Ballmer's office screaming that they're leaving too much money on the table by not having iOS and Android versions of Office.

    Also, sooner or later, if you sell enough units, one of these Office knockoffs will actually take off because word will get out that it's "good enough." At that point Microsoft has to put Office on iOS and Android to defend the fort.
    Robert Hahn
    • Completely agreed.

      I've had this on my mind ever since I heard about W8! Office is great, but it shouldn't be the driving force for people to choose the W8 platform (PC or tablet). Do they not realize how much money and consumer space they'd acquire by simply taking their mobile Office and handing it out on Android/iOS (@ a competitive price)??? They'd already have plenty of intel on the mobile office market, and be able to use it in their W8 machines; making them that much better off at the get-go. Makes not a single ounce of marketing sense.
      lawliss
      • They don't have to "handle it out

        Just provide the service at a rental ..... lets say $10 a month and maybe $1 for single day usage. That would actually be $120 every year for heavy users, $80+ a year for students.

        They can make more money by renting on any platform, than by selling a single user license. While the single user license would be used for many years (example: people are still using Office 97), with a rental service, most people would not even flinch at paying $10 a month ... and if that user keeps the service for 5 years, that is $600 vs the max of $400 MS would get for a long usage license (which is usually 5 years) for Office Pro.
        wackoae
      • @ lawliss and Robert

        "Do they not realize how much money and consumer space they'd acquire by simply taking their mobile Office and handing it out on Android/iOS (@ a competitive price)??? "

        Not so in their business strategy. The end game here is revenue growth and profit growth. Extensive volume share does not necessarily translate into revenue growth and profit growth. If you know the PC market, it did not commoditize on the PC price including OS license in 2009. It started happening in 1999 if you remember the Gateway-eMachines PC wars with Packard Bell and Compaq ultimately leading to the exit of all 3 excluding Compaq to Acer and then Compaq to HP which are both market share leaders but show zero to extremely low margin PC profits. Acer even shows losses from time to time.

        Microsoft sees Surface as a quality game - build up mindshare and then charge high price with high margin - in what is aimed squarely at an Apple replacement strategy completely in the enterprise and partially in consumer spaces. So if Office mobile software is ported or moved equivalently feature-wise to iOS and especially Android, they will lost that high margin game. Essentially mobile Office will not be tied to Surface and especially Win8 tablets and this will cause their business software to start to become Windows agnostic - which is not the case now. Office is also not a Server product like Hyper-V or Dynamics CRM. So unlike their Server and Tools division, the Business software team that sells Office will try to maximize Office experience on primarily Windows tablets and then iOS tablets. Office will never appear on Android or desktop Linux. That is impossible.
        calahan
        • What changed?

          Hasn't Microsoft lost the "high margin game" in the enterprise anyway? If we ask The Usual Suspects how it happened that Macintosh ended up with less than 10% of the PC market, we'll hear that Apple chose a high-price/high-margin strategy that captured a niche, but lost out to low-cost commoditized hardware.

          But now Microsoft is going to adopt a high-price/high-margin strategy and this time that strategy is going to win instead of lose? Why? Why aren't they going to get beaten by the same HPs and Dells that beat Apple? Have they figured out some secret way to keep Office off the Windows 8 products sold by their OEMs?

          This is why I think that there will be a lot of hooting and hollering from the IT directors when the Surface Pro comes out, but when the big fleet-buy sales orders get written, they'll be going to Lenovo, etc.
          Robert Hahn
    • This paragraph is 100.000% spot on.

      "The right way to deal with the issue is to sell a bunch of units. In Google's case, by pushing hard on that $199 price tag. In Apple's case, by doing exactly what they're doing. You have to get the guys running Microsoft's Office division to run into Ballmer's office screaming that they're leaving too much money on the table by not having iOS and Android versions of Office."

      A perfect analysis where MS needs to be willing to disrupt MS. If people realize that Office is not required but simply optional, then they will loose the entire Office segment in the future. It will be marginalized and seen as a commodity.
      Bruizer
  • Microsoft's challenge with Office 2013 RT

    is to provide very good document compatibility with Office 2013 on x86-based systems. If articles similar to the one linked below for iWork document compatibility between the iPad and OS X appear for Microsoft's Office ecosystem:

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/crippled-iworks-apps-for-ipad-causes-confusion-and-frustration-for-new-owners/7935

    then Microsoft will be at risk of losing their 800-pound gorilla status in the consumer market.

    Note: There are plenty of articles on iWork document compatibility similar to the one I linked.

    Regarding the enterprise market, Microsoft Office still wins for features and interoperability with 3rd party desktop software. Interoperability is also important for the SMB market, and as one example, many Intuit financial products are expressly designed to be compatible with Microsoft Office, especially Outlook (as well as Adobe Reader).
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Plenty still use 2003

      The wonderful thing about competing with MS is that MS users are very slow to adopt the new stuff. At least since XP and Office 2003.

      All any competitor has to do is meet full Office 2003 compatibility, and some 2007 compatibility, then beat 2013 on pricing and ease of use. Do that, and people will switch.

      Who even uses .docx files anyway?
      T1Oracle
      • That's because people hate "the ribbon"

        The glorified toolbar with tabs wasn't an improvement.

        Sure, it "looks" good ... but it actually made usability a lot worst. Unless you use a feature constantly, you end up spending more time looking for it than actually doing work.
        wackoae
        • The ribbon has it's merit's

          It also makes less used features more visible and the icons make it more clear what the features do. Tabs also help organize the features. They should have kept the traditional menues on top of that, but the ribbon actually helps promote the use of the more advanced features.

          I like it, but I know I'm in the minority. Most people still use spaces, carraige returns, and repeated tabs to aling things instead of margins, paragraph spacing, and custom tabs. Not everyone wants to use advanced features.
          T1Oracle
          • I have not found any yet.

            The Ribbon (after a few years) is still very difficult to to find stuff in. I really like what they did on the Mac Office 2011; they have both the menu and the Ribbon.

            I keep hoping the Ribbon will just go bu-by.
            Bruizer
        • the ribbon

          made me immediately switch back to office 2003. frankly I don't even think it looks good- it's so messy it looks like a kid with ADD invented it. I have libre office for the two times a year someone sends me a docx file, but otherwise I'm happy to stay with 2003.
          theoilman
          • Why not get the 2003 converters for MS Office

            which will convert them to the older format, instead of running 2 separate offices suites?

            But I have to admit, most of the files I get are docx or xlsx. Rarely do I get doc or xls anymore.
            DontUseGoogleAtAll!
          • free office compatibility pack

            Get yourself one from MS website. Support for the _x files will be added to your 2003.
            polarcat
        • People don't hate the ribbon

          Sure, at work people pissed and moaned, but after a week or so, never heard a complaint again, and work is still getting done.

          Too many people harp on a 1 or 2 week event, like the average user is too stupid to adapt.

          It is what it is, and people learn and move on like nothing ever happened.
          DontUseGoogleAtAll!
          • cant agree

            was using 2007 since it appeared, then 2010 - got used to it, yes, liked - no. After so many years still! And I know many people who are the same.

            Especially that all manufacturers are now into wide screen display madness - which is extra lame for text jobs, ribbon uses too much space vertically which you lack already.
            polarcat