Sunday, May 09, 2010

Free Lunch: Competition from Google Docs Forces Microsoft to Offer Free Version of Office 2010

Seattle Times -- "Microsoft launches its latest version, Office 2010, on Wednesday in New York — and the stakes couldn't be higher. The lucrative franchise is threatened by a changing market spouting a four-letter word: free. The biggest threat comes from Google, specifically Google Docs, Web applications accessible from any computer. Because of Google, Microsoft has been forced to make a free ad-supported version called Office Web Apps."

MP: Another great example of how market competition is often more effective at regulating monopolies than the Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission, and how even long-standing monopolies and dominant firms are eventually challenged by innovation and competition.

9 Comments:

At 5/09/2010 8:01 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I wonder if Microsoft, like IBM before it, will lose its basic market, and have to become a software service company.

Is it not inevitable that in time software will be free, and cloud-computing commonplace.

You may use an accounting system for the price of looking at banner advertising and $10 a month, in cloud computing.

Who needs Microsoft in that world--one that seems inevitable?

Like IBM, I think Microsoft will have to gravitate to servicing large firms who want custom programs. And even there--how long until even large companies realize that hugely expensive installations are not really worth it?

The desktop computer of today has more power than 100 Brainiacs of yesterday, and can connect online to unlimited power.

 
At 5/09/2010 8:22 PM, Blogger Shawn said...

...but think of all those great DoJ and FTC jobs we'd lose...

 
At 5/09/2010 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You get what you pay for. Google docs is pretty lame and in no way comparable to MS Office. Look at the size of all the tech help books like the Missing Manual series for Office applications. Google docs don't have any help books because it's so primitive.

 
At 5/09/2010 9:33 PM, OpenID gnuosphere said...

Google Docs is just one factor. The biggest threat to Microsoft Office are open standards for document formats. So long as users keep creating documents using Microsoft's proprietary formats, they will be tied to Microsoft products if they want to ensure 100% fidelity.

In that sense, government regulations are more than welcome. Governments should ban all use of proprietary formats when disseminating or receiving documents.

Proprietary file formats are anti-competitive. They are the only reason why Microsoft Office has lasted as long as it has.

 
At 5/09/2010 9:46 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Sun's Open Office has no problems opening MS Office documents. I've had documents that Office said were corrupt and Open Office was able to open them, fix the problem so that Office could then open them.

What I don't like is intuit quicken. I had the 2007 edition and in December got a message that unless I bought the 2010 edition, intuit was going to block the 2007 edition from accessing my bank accounts.

 
At 5/09/2010 10:41 PM, OpenID gnuosphere said...

Michael, "opening" is not the same as fidelity. Users don't just want to "open" documents, they want them to render exactly as they would using Microsoft Office. One way to achieve this is through open standards like ODF.

Pseudo-standards like MS-OOXML are designed to force users into a particular product to ensure true document fidelity. This is anti-competitive and a place where governments should step in.

 
At 5/10/2010 9:31 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Pseudo-standards like MS-OOXML are designed to force users into a particular product to ensure true document fidelity. This is anti-competitive and a place where governments should step in"...

So instead of letting the market place decide the worth or lack thereof Microsoft's Office you want to the federal government to step in...

Apparently the dismal history of government intervention (and its associated costs) is lost on you...

You must've been an Obama supporter...

 
At 5/10/2010 8:44 PM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

Many home and small business users are not comfortable with Google Docs web-based applications. They want to keep their work local.

But, an excellent free alternative to Microsoft Office is (as mentioned above) Sun Systems Open Office. I used it for the better part of a year and found this free, local computer based software quite acceptable.

Only when Microsoft temporarily started selling the 3 license version of Microsoft Office (where legal online shopping got the price down to about $30 per license) did I come back to Microsoft.

BTW, people (even those who are distrustful of the Internet) should still look into off-site backup. It's cheap, often free, easy to do and is encrypted. Actually safer than your data on your own computer.

 
At 5/10/2010 11:28 PM, Blogger Michael said...

The problem with the off site back is that it isn't a backup. I have Dells. If the hard drive goes, so does the OS recovery. Assuming you can get the OS, you have to reload and reconfigure your entire system and then download your off site backup.

The adds sound good, but they are really misleading people in to thinking their computer is protected from a crash.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home