John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Google: Yo, I Got Yer Office 2010 Upgrade Right Here

Office 2010, the long-awaited “cloud” version of Microsoft’s Office productivity suite, arrived at market today amid some measured trash-talking from Google. In an anomalous post on the search giant’s Enterprise Blog Tuesday, Google Enterprise Product Management Director Matthew Glotzbach advised against purchasing the software, arguing users would be better served by, you guessed it, Google Docs.

“If you’re considering upgrading Office with Office, we’d encourage you to consider an alternative: upgrading Office with Google Docs,” Glotzbach advised.

“If you choose this path,” he explained, “upgrade means what it’s supposed to mean: effortless, affordable, and delivering a remarkable increase in employee productivity. This is a refreshing alternative to the expensive and laborious upgrades to which IT professionals have become accustomed.”

Fascinating counsel, coming from a company that just a few years ago was insisting that it had no plans whatsoever to compete with Microsoft’s (MSFT) core PC software business, even as it rolled out the pieces of its own hosted desktop productivity suite.

In any event, much as Google (GOOG) claims its efforts are a match for Office, particularly Office 2010, which allows people to edit and collaborate on documents and presentations on the Web, market research says they aren’t perceived that way. And in all likelihood, Microsoft’s 94 percent share of the productivity software market (Gartner) will remain unshaken for some time to come.

To wit, a survey from Forrester Research (FORR) released on the eve of the Office 2010 launch shows quite clearly that Microsoft has little to worry about from Google Apps. Of the 115 North American and European enterprise and SMB decision makers the research house contacted, 81 percent said they use Office 2007, while four percent said they use Google’s productivity offerings. And one third said they plan to upgrade to Office 2010 in the next year.

Why?

Microsoft Office is familiar, and, in many cases, an upgrade to Office 2010 was included in their licenses (click on chart below to enlarge).

So while Google Docs might represent, as the search sovereign argues, “a real alternative for companies: a chance to get the collaboration features you need today and end the endless cycle of ‘upgrades,’” the market doesn’t yet much care. Yet. And that’s all that really matters.

Says Forrester: “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.”


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