It’s apparent, Microsoft is more worried about losing it’s existing Customers rather than trying to gain any new. In this fearsome battle where Google is trying to gain access to your netbooks through Chrome OS, Microsoft is more worried about losing its pricey clients to free and open Office applications.
With Office 2010 Microsoft is planning to add a significant online version- Office Web Apps. Understood to be similar in functionality as Google Apps but having advantages such as familiarity of users with MS Office, this web app promises too much. The only problem, however, still remains the price factor.
On one hand you get a Google App for business for as low as $50 per user per year (or may be free if you are an individual user), Microsoft will charge its business owners the full charge for Office 2010 license. Looks like they are still very much focussed on big businesses rather than targeting home users/small businesses.
The best thing about Google apps is that it allows easy conversion of Office documents. However as Microsoft added some really cool functionalities in its ‘Office 2007’ tools, Google is unable to provide complete portability for all Office features.
Google says that it will continue to support MS documents so that more and more users keep using its apps in addition to Office. On the other hand Microsoft has a different POV, they want to get their hands on web apps too so as to make Google lose its existing customers.
But I have my own apprehensions here:
1. Most of the users using Google Apps, do so because of the ability to read their docs on email instantly, editing and sharing them with Gmail users with utmost ease. These users were and will never be Microsoft’s core customers as they use either pirated Office software or use the limited Microsoft Works available on their laptops.
2. Many of the big businesses which use MS Office don’t allow Google Apps as they don’t want official documents getting shared with outer world easily. In such a case I’m afraid how comfortable businesses would be to use the web version of MS Office.
3. Microsoft is trying to be smarter by charging its existing clients huge money for a web app whose alternatives are already available for either free or much lower costs. Is this fair? Or, these big businesses are dumb enough to understand this?
I’m not yet sure about Microsoft’s strategy here. Can’t they for god’s sake provide a simple software for free??