Published in Editorials

Google Drive Signaling the End of Microsoft Office? Umm No.

by on28 April 2012 3494 times

Microsoft_Office_LogoUnderstandably the news has been filled with information on Google’s new product. We have heard about their typical tendency to copy and paste their terms of service along with how it is going to kill Dropbox and other storage providers. Along with these we have even heard how Google drive is signaling the death of Microsoft Office… ummm hang on a bit there. The death of what?

You are probably thinking the same thing that I was when I read that. How can Google Drive kill off Office. In the simplest terms; it cannot. However, if you want to try and build a case for it then you start off with Google Docs. To some the Google Docs platform is and will continue to eat away at Microsoft’s business suite. Now there is some evidence to suggest that this is happening, but I can tell you from a consultant and MSP point of view that even with businesses that are using Google Docs most still have Microsoft Office on each PC (or Mac).

Office is one of the default standards in the business (and even educational) computing world. It is the format that people expect. Let me give you an example of what I mean. A few years ago I did a consult for a company that was growing. They had 10 employees and were expecting to hire 10 more. They wanted (really needed) a server for use in managing shares, users accounts etc. When I toured the building I noticed that almost all were using Open Office except for two people that had Office 2007. When I asked about this I was told that everyone created their documents in Open Office and then sent them to one of the two Office users for final editing and distribution. I questioned them about getting Office for everyone and was told it was too expensive. So they paid for two licenses but used a free office software for everyone else. They knew that the Office format was expected for most documents, and also that the editing/formatting tools in Office were much better than what they could get with OpenOffice.

I cannot count the number of hours spent integrating Google docs into a BES server, or making sure that a customer can still use Outlook, Word, or other Microsoft based application after a migration to Google Docs. The API in use is ok, but it simply cannot match up to what you get with Office.

The author of these articles might also want to remember that Microsoft has Sky Drive which is a storage service offered directly from MS and one that integrates into Office very easily. On top of that you have Office 360 (a Microsoft run web based version of Office), SharePoint with Web Apps (a plug-in that allows you to view, edit and create documents online using the SharePoint interface).

To add some additional items to the mix, larger (enterprise class) corporations do not like the use of cloud storage as it leaves their data in someone else’s hands. They are going to maintain this internally and use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or again SharePoint to allow access to their internal corporate documents. Then there are the companies that are prevented by law from storing information on someone else’s servers (like banks etc.) again they are not going to shift over to Google Drive and will be sure to keep their copies of Windows and Office running.

 

So while Google Drive combined with Google Docs might offer some small competition there is no way that it is even close to sounding the death bell for Microsoft’s Office Suite. There is simply too much working there for that to happen any time soon.

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Last modified on 28 April 2012
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