Google Mania by Mahesh Pillai – GCMBA07 Alumn

Written on October 18, 2006 by Guillermo Montes in Información y tecnología

The Mountain View, California based firm is in the news again, for the right reasons of course (unlike HP, which is based not very far from Mountain View). After its headline-hogging buyout of YouTube (www.youtube.com), Google (www.google.com) has announced that it has merged its online word processing tool Writely and online spreadsheet tool. The new combination will now be called Google Docs and Spreadsheets (not a very creative name I must say).
Online forums are abuzz with debates over whether this is a nail in Microsoft’s Office coffin. My thoughts are that while Microsoft might not see this as an immediate threat to its virtual monopoly over the office tools space, the long run will see Microsoft having to contend with strong competition from Google and others if it does not respond with an online option of its office suite.
Two other factors will weigh in on how this market shapes out for Google. First, the fact that Google’s word and spreadsheet applications have much less features compared to Word or Excel. This will make acceptance from medium to large business virtually impossible, since functionality will most likely be a higher factor than cost. For Small to Medium scaled businesses, Google is an enticing option given how expensive the Microsoft Office suite can get. The second factor is the competition in this field. SaaS applications like Zoho, Open Office , and Thinkfree are way ahead of Google’s word and spreadsheet applications in terms of the functionality they offer.
Analysts point out that Google should try to popularize their office products by making a full featured stand-alone version available. I doubt if Google will ever take that route, since it is not their business model. They are not a software company and they don’t make money by selling software. Advertising is what brings in their moolah and offline, stand-alone applications are certainly not a way of generating ad revenues.
Microsoft’s launch of its touted online office suite is a much awaited event and is sure to make things interesting. In the meantime, if using cool free office tools give you a high, be sure to check out OpenOffice.org.


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