Google Outs Gameplan To Overthrow Microsoft Office
Google's Microsoft Office chase began ten-years-ago with the launch of its Google Apps platform. Today, Google Apps has become a solid all-in-one solution for businesses wanting to move most of their data and services to the cloud, such as email, storage, and so forth.
Since 2007, Google's Docs service has been integrated as well, which allows users to create documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows right on the Web. Best of all, these documents can be edited by more than one person at once, and have advanced sharing capabilities.
It wasn't until a couple of years later that Microsoft introduced its own solution, called Office Online. With its rollout, Microsoft proved that it wasn't at all on the ball. After all, it's probably not a good thing that a competitor which had nothing to do with office suites came out with a next-generation platform before you did.
Nonetheless, Google's early entry no doubt helped with its growth, but Google has some key plans in place to help fuel more rapid growth going forward. At the forefront, the company isn't going to worry about copying every single feature off of Microsoft; 85~90% is suitable. Chances are the remaining 10~15% of features would be niche to the point where having them missing affects very few people.
Interoperability is also important; treating Office documents as a "first-class citizen". That means allowing documents created through Microsoft's Office apps to open up in Google Docs and also Google's Quickoffice accurately. This ties into the next point, of not trying to convince enterprises to make the move over to Google Apps. Given the service's features, Google hopes that it will just happen over time.
One of the key reasons for this subtle luring is that with Google Apps, you don't need to pay for an entire Office license for someone who barely makes use of it. With Google Apps, there's a flat fee (and a reasonable one; $120/yr) that delivers Google's Docs apps as well as a plethora of other ones, like Gmail.
Other plans help lock people in: Teach them about the features that they won't want to go without, get them to use other products that Google offers, and also show them how Google's cloud can allow them to work on-the-go.
As an end-user, I can understand where Google is going with its Docs service and others, but I've come to prefer Office quite a bit more for a couple of reasons: I can use a desktop app, the performance seems better (online), and the interface is also better. But as I said, I'm an end-user, for business, cloud and mobile emphasis probably wouldn't prove to be too much of a detriment. I do question whether Google's quoted 80% is a wee bit too ambitious, though. Time will tell.