Microsoft Office 2010 takes aim at Google Docs
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.
At 12:58:39 in EnglandA poem about the killing of PC Keith Blakelock during riots in north London was written by the man accused of his murder, a court has heard.
At 12:58:21 in SportKent have announced a pre-interest and pre-tax profit of £156,778 for the financial year to November 2013.
At 12:56:04 in ScotlandA hamster has been found abandoned inside a plastic play tube in Edinburgh.
At 12:55:09 in BusinessThe sometimes fraught relationship between leaseholders and their freeholders is going to be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
At 12:54:04 in HeadlinesIndia's Supreme Court has ordered the continuing detention of businessman Subrata Roy and asked his firm to come up with a plan to repay its investors.
At 12:53:21 in SportCrystal Palace winger Jason Puncheon has been fined £15,000 by the Football Association and warned about his future conduct for Twitter comments he made in relation to former boss Neil Warnock.
At 12:52:43 in HeadlinesA second witness at the murder trial of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has told a court in the capital Pretoria she was awoken by the sounds of a fight early on 14 February 2013.
At 12:42:01 in PoliticsThere is a risk that "deliberate provocation" could give rise to a dangerous incident in Ukraine, Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned.
At 12:41:48 in EnglandA residential treatment programme for addicts which closed in Yeovil is to reopen after the charity running it merged with another organisation.
At 12:40:03 in ScotlandPolice Scotland has exceeded its target to recruit 1,000 additional officers.
Harvard CitationBBC 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 9th Mar 2014]
News In Other Categories
Fawlty Towers star Prunella Scales has "a sort of mild Alzheimer's", her husband Tim West has revealed in the Radio Times.
A man in his 40s has been injured during what is believed to have been an attempted armed robbery in County Down.
There is a risk that "deliberate provocation" could give rise to a dangerous incident in Ukraine, Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned.
The sometimes fraught relationship between leaseholders and their freeholders is going to be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
Two hospitals missed opportunities to take action against a consultant breast surgeon who was performing unnecessary or incomplete operations, a review has found.
A poem about the killing of PC Keith Blakelock during riots in north London was written by the man accused of his murder, a court has heard.