Googlespace vs. Microsoft: Will they call it G-office?

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Here we go. Says Red Herring:

"In an overt challenge to Microsoft, search giant Google said Thursday it had acquired Writely, an online word processing tool, for an undisclosed amount.

"Writely, a project of Upstartle, functions much like Microsoft Word but in a web browser. The online environment allows for collaboration between multiple authors and the benefit of someone else hosting your document."

I wrote about this a while back... wonder why is Microsoft just sitting there milking dead cows like Office?

Marc Benioff of salesforce.com says: “It demonstrates that on demand is the death knell of Microsoft. Google is firing a shot directly into the heart of Microsoft Office.”

What can you do with Writely?

According to the website:

You can:

- Upload Word documents, OpenOffice, RTF, HTML or text (or create documents from scratch).
- Use our simple WYSIWYG editor to format your documents, spell-check them, etc.
- Invite others to share your documents (by e-mail address).
- Edit documents online with whomever you choose.
- View your documents' revision history and roll back to any version.
- Publish documents online to the world, or to just who you choose.
- Download documents to your desktop as Word, OpenOffice, RTF, PDF*, HTML or zip.
- Post your documents to your blog.

The next question is: will it be free? ad-supported? free basic, paid premium-version??

C'mon Gates. You know what to do. Just kill Office, now- before Google kills it for you.

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2 Comments

Interesting subject, Christian, but I respectfully disagree with the prediction of MS Office's demise at the hands of an Internet application.

Writely isn't going to destroy MS Word, for the exact same reason the ASP explosion fizzled with the dot com bust. IT executives tend to fight vehemently about keeping data in-house. We will never be comfortable storing something like our Word documents on someone else's equipment off-site. It is inherently dangerous, because it is a relinquishment of both control and privacy.

Microsoft knows this, which is precisely why they haven't tried to move their own Office user base to an ASP Web model. It isn't because they don't know how to do it. They simply think the IT world doesn't want it.

Remember back in 1997/98 when Netscape and Sun were going to take over the planet with diskless terminals running on Netscape's browser instead of MS Windows or another OS? I keenly recall the myriad of individuals and IT media pundits jumping on the bandwagon and describing an inevitable future whereby temporary applets they didn't own were used in place of things like Excel and Word, and documents were stored on an off-site host owned by someone else. At that time, I argued it would never happen, because human beings want their data, and they want it on their own computers. Most of us also want our own applications on our own computers. The idea that Writely could take down MS Office is the old Netscape/Sun argument brought back to life. The argument was not ahead of its time in 1997 and thus a failure, it was simply a bad argument, because it didn't take IT paranoia and human nature into account.

If Google is wise, it will not market Writely as an Internet ASP solution; it will market Writely as an Intranet solution. That's where the thin client found a home and it is where Writely could take some market share from MS, simply by being less expensive than an MS Terminal Server with a 40-user MS Office license. However, they would not succeed in this light because they are a better technology. They would succeed because they are a less expensive alternative.

Mike - I agree with what you're saying to a point. CIOs don't want their data floating around. I think we will see a Google appliance for business which will take care of that... as you suggest, it will be an Intranet app.

For the consumer world tho, this will lead to a mass exodus from Office...

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This page contains a single entry by Christian Sarkar published on March 10, 2006 12:56 AM.

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