Well, as we all know about Google Docs – your friendly, FREE, anywhere and anytime Office suite available – courtsey Google. Microsoft is set to release its own suit. Microsoft on 28th October 2008 showcased the web version of its office. That is according to most industry experts even laymen going for straight battle with Google Docs. Microsoft said Microsoft Office Web Applications would be available with Office 14, Gartner estimates it to be shipped near about year-end 2010..
“Microsoft is not a web company”, Google is! Microsoft is just diversifying, probably because -
- It has recognized, most of the users spend their time on internet Google.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS enables firms lower costs,
optimize IT resources,
Shift from capital to operating expenses
SaaS can help Microsoft target enterprises that are resistant to large scale deployment/upgrades.
Customization / Consumerization – Firms increasingly allow workers to choose the platform of their choice be it Microsoft Window, Apple’s MAC or Linux.
Ad Revenue – Microsoft wants to tap the growing revenue from ad-supported services for consumers.
- As analyzed by Gartner.
However with great products NEWS come great responsibility, actually to keep on your words is all that matters. By announcing several advance launches -
- Microsoft Windows 7 (Microsoft’s answer to VISTA Bugs),
- Microsoft Azure (The cloud computing platform from Microsoft),
- Microsoft Surface (The New User Interface experience from Microsoft) and the
- Web Version of Microsoft Office
I personally feel its trying to get consumers think more Microsoft even when they are Googling. Gartner says it might slow down the adoption of Google Apps and other personal productivity application, but my gut feelings says it would invite more awareness about Google Docs as an alternative, as well as consumers would use it as a benchmarking to compare what Web version of Office doesn’t offer and might even drive customers to Google if MS fails to meet the expectations.
Gartner has quite well analyzed about Office Web Applications, it suspects Office Web Applications will -
- Have a limited set of functions compared with traditional Office
- Be optimized for use with SilverLight (Microsoft’s rich Internet application)
- Use SharePoint for the container for collaboration
- Have offline facilities
Now if Microsoft proves Gartner right, Point 1 will bound to go against Microsoft. If you ever had used Google Docs, I believe it has almost all the features you are looking for in a Document Editor. The best of being it being exported as PDF, and other formats. But then Point 4 will complement it. So it’s like you can have the web version but it won’t be complete until you buy Microsoft Products :). Point 2 Silverlight will probably the interface engine for Web version of Office Application. Microsoft has been quite agressive about spreading Silverlight, Silverlight has been released for linux too. Microsoft is making sure no corner lefts untouched. Moreover Microsoft has been developing Interfaces for its enterprise products on Silverlight too. Microsoft Health Common User Interface is one of the examples and it looks quite impressive.
Gartner also concluded the challenges Microsoft has to confront while delivering its promise -
- Limiting the impact on Microsoft’s traditional Office revenue model
- Re-engineering 20 years of technology for the Web
- Competing with Google, which offers some compelling features such as real-time
- We believe Web versions of personal productivity applications will generally supplement
locally installed versions, although in some cases, users needing limited functions will
use Web versions exclusively.
Microsoft has already taken a step by launching www.officelive.com Office live provides
- Anywhere access to your documents,
- Sharing of your documents
- Preview of your documents without any office suit installed.
- Facility to open or save files directly from your favorite office suite.
The service is available for use to both Home users as well as small Business users. I suspect microsoft will shift the service on its cloud computing platform – Azure when it finally launches the Now! Anticipated Web version of Microsoft Office.
Till then keep your finger crossed, hope the clashes of titans helps users get the best! Adios for now!