27/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 17:05

Microsoft Office 2010 takes aim at Google Docs

Category: Business

Published: 12th May 2010 00:19:05

Microsoft is preparing to launch its latest weapon in its ongoing battle with Google.

The software giant will launch its flagship product Office 2010 to businesses on 12 May.

The latest version of the software has a free online component - called Office Web Apps.

Analysts believe the web offering is a response to Google, which has been encroaching on Microsoft's core business with its free online tools.

Crucially, Microsoft will also offer its online office suite to all users of one of the world's most popular social networking sites, Facebook.

"There's no question - Microsoft is responding to Google's threat," said Whit Andrews, analyst at research firm Gartner.

Google and Microsoft have increasingly begun to stray into each other's traditional markets.

Microsoft has thrown its full weight behind its search engine Bing, whilst Google is about to launch its own operating system, known as Chrome OS.

It is critical that Microsoft capture users who are not tethered to the same desktop PC every day

The battle for the Office software market started in 2006 when the search giant launched the first elements of its Google Docs.

"Until Google emerged with a credible suite of networked applications, Microsoft was not compelled to do anything."

Google Docs now offers word-processing, spreadsheet software and a presentation tool, amongst others. Businesses can pay for premium versions.

It currently has a small (4%) but growing share of the market.

By contrast, Microsoft dominates the Office software space, with a market share of more than 94%, according to Gartner. The vast majority of sales are to businesses.

Business "is still overwhelmingly a Microsoft world", said Sheri McLeish, analyst at Forrester Research.

Microsoft retains its dominant position despite the free offerings from Google and other alternatives such as Zoho or the free office suite OpenOffice.org.

However, Mr Andrews warned that these offerings - and particularly those that were web based - were likely to appeal to younger people, who have not necessarily grown up using Microsoft products.

"If all your content is generated in the Google apps system and it lives there, you would need to have a really good reason to move," he told BBC News.

Office Web Apps offers a free version of programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint

The service allows people to access and edit documents from within a web browser, as well as share and collaborate on files. It lacks the entire gamut of features found in the desktop versions.

Microsoft has said that the suite will be offered free to its 400 million Windows Live users.

"It is critical that Microsoft capture users who are not tethered to the same desktop PC every day," said Mr Andrews.

"They need to be able to serve the growing netbook community and people using their phones."

The firm has also integrated the social web into its software in a bid to attract new customers and keep the desktop software relevant in an increasingly online world.

Its Social Connector service allows people to suck in information from social networks such as LinkedIn and MySpace into the Office Outlook e-mail program.

The firm has also released a trial version of its online apps that integrates with Facebook.

"With the changes that have happened with social networking and web applications, Microsoft is bringing [Office] up to the present day," said Ms McLeish.

The software for PCs and phones will be launched at an event in New York on 12 May. Business customers will be able to use it straight away, whilst home users will have to wait until June to buy the full version.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2010. Microsoft Office 2010 takes aim at Google Docs [Online] (Updated 12th May 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/58759/Microsoft-Office-2010-takes-aim-at-Google-Docs [Accessed 27th Aug 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • 'It's Over': Reporting the IRA ceasefire 20 years ago

    The statement was written in neat, small handwriting on a tiny sheet of paper.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Wales boss Chris Coleman yet to discuss rapist Ched Evans

    Wales manager Chris Coleman says he is yet to have a discussion about Ched Evans's Wales future.
  • Work on A55/A483 junction between Wrexham and Chester

    Work will start next month on a £5.3m scheme to tackle a traffic bottleneck between Wrexham and Chester.
  • McDonald's plans appeal against Moscow outlet closure

    Russian courts have ordered four McDonald's outlets to close for 90 days, citing breaches of sanitary rules.
  • Sting shows to support Sage Gateshead anniversary

    Sting has announced two concerts to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Sage Gateshead arts venue.