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Google Declares War on Microsoft 628

Posted by Zonk
from the they-will-fight-them-in-the-spreadsheets dept.
hajmola writes "According to an article in The Inquirer, 'Google has confirmed that it will launch free spreadsheet and word-processing software online and take on Microsoft in one of its biggest markets. Under the deal, Google will allow web users to access Sun's OpenOffice from a toolbar.'" This is full confirmation of a story from Tuesday. Forbes thinks this isn't anything to write home about, while InfoWorld disagrees.
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Google Declares War on Microsoft

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  • Does anyone know of any previous cases where companies have taken fairly successful desktop applications and made them accessible on the web?
    • by Golias (176380) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:28AM (#13729767)
      Does anyone know of any previous cases where companies have taken fairly successful desktop applications and made them accessible on the web?

      Sure. Hotmail.

      I guess this mean's Microsoft will now buy Google, and then proceed to completely fuck it up.
      • ThinkFree Office (Score:5, Informative)

        by lunadog (821751) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:09AM (#13730290)
        Thinkfree office has exactly the same service (a MS compatible office program available online, with document saving on their server for free)..

        http://www.thinkfree.org/ [thinkfree.org]

        But I imagine Google/Sun will get more publicity.
      • I think MS would have bought Google a looooooong time ago if they had the ability.
      • by cabazorro (601004) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @12:02PM (#13731043) Homepage Journal
        Rich content WEB services such as GOOGLE EARTH, Have never been
        possible due to lack of bandwith.
        If I wanted to runn a web based app like those darn java applets
        that couldn't compete with apps running local.
        Now, With Broadband in place(4 Mbps or more), You can access a Full fledged app
        from the web and and rival in performance with your locally install MS Crap.
        Microsoft bussiness model:
        Control the distribution channel (CD's/preinstalled)
        Pay for programs, not conent.
        Google bussiness model:
        Control the distribution channel (WEB-HOSTS-SERVICES/WI-FI)
        Pay for conent, not programs.
        The clock is ticking
    • by muyuubyou (621373) * on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:32AM (#13729820)
      Hotmail was quite succesful in porting the mail client to the web, well before it was bought by Microsoft. I believe they weren't the first but they were the first very succesful ones. My first hotmail account is around 10 years old IIRC (blocked and wiped clean twice during vacation time).
    • by ScentCone (795499) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:47AM (#13729963)
      There was a time when contact management (or, in a more sophisticated form, CRM - customer relationship management) was a desktop app like Act or similar products. Enter SalesForce.com [salesforce.com]. You could say the same thing about what used to be the province of QuickBooks Pro, or lighter-weight implementations of accounting apps like Solomon or Great Plains, and look instead at NetLedger.com [netledger.com]. These are complete migrations from desktop business apps to subscription-based web apps. Likewise with newer versions of tax prep software, etc. This is not new.

      That being said, I don't want to have to be internet-connected in order to work on a word processor document.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        That being said, I don't want to have to be internet-connected in order to work on a word processor document.

        What about when internet access is as reliable as electricity?

        Think about folks with electric stoves/ovens and microwaves. No gas cooking appliances. They don't seem to say, "That being said, I don't want to have to have electricity in order to cook a meal". People have bitten that bullet, and I'm sure they can count the amount of disruption they've experienced on one hand.

        Yes, sometimes you have
      • by Lucractius (649116) <Lucractius@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:26AM (#13730544) Journal
        i for one want to be able to work on my document wherever i can get online, and leverage the sheer size of my Gmail account more flexibly. at university i never get the same box every time and they wipe them completely, word reinstalls to default settings every time i login. I connect to a central server for my files and thats the only degree of portability between machines. Not to mention being unable to get anything but http in the linux labs (they even borked SSH to their public linux Terminal server) they fear linux there. I want this portability badly. Sit down, open my personalised google, open my half finished report, resume working, save, close, logout. change rooms, repeat progress. all without stuffing round with my acurrsed central login, so i can use ANY machine to work on with any login, as long as ive got net access i can happily get to my work and work with my settings :)
    • ProCD telephone directory. Replaced by a million phone directory websites.
    • Have you guys completely forgotten about Corel [slashdot.org] doing this in the past? Hmm... Come to think of it, slashdot.org wasn't even around back then... :?

      Here's someone who kept the old Corel Java Office [dundee.ac.uk]. I remember being cautiously exited about this, but it turned out the computers of that time and the bandwith generaly available were a killer for this app (pun intended)...

      Cheers...

  • by mu_wtfo (224511) * on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:07AM (#13729556) Homepage
    I've read through all the linked articles, and the articles *they* link to, and while the claims of "Google confirms it!" are plentiful, I haven't seen a single named source or attribution for this story.The Forbes story, in fact, still calls any Google online office venture 'speculation'. Where is this 'declaration of war'?
    • by strider44 (650833) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:23AM (#13729717)
      • by mu_wtfo (224511) * on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:33AM (#13729831) Homepage
        Well, no.

        From the press release: "the companies have agreed to explore opportunities to promote and enhance Sun technologies, like the Java Runtime Environment and the OpenOffice.org productivity suite".

        Which is quite different from "will launch free spreadsheet and word-processing software online".

        • by kupci (642531) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @01:47PM (#13732351)
          According to this article from Yahoo News [yahoo.com], the reporter asks the question, but Schmidt doesn't exactly deny the rumour. Hence the confusion. Microsoft has used this to great effect, to "test the waters", for example when they were going to kill FoxPro. The resulting public outcry from diehard Fox users forced Microsoft to keep enhancing FoxPro. Consider this cheap market research.

          Instead of quibbling over nuances, consider this: Is it technically feasible to do this? Would there be any benefit? You betcha. Roger Kay's dinosaur quote below is great. It's funny, whenever you see one of those Microsoft adverts with the dinosaurs, it makes me think what a great OpenOffice add it would be, with Microsoft's Bob being one of the dinos.

          "Is this a threat to Microsoft? Not today," said Roger Kay, president of market research firm Endpoint Technology Associates. "But mammals weren't a threat either when dinosaurs were kings of the earth."

          [snip]

          Google Toolbar is a small header bar that fits within a computer user's Web browser which makes it more convenient for desktop PC users to use Google search and link to other tools with a single mouse click.

          Asked whether Google might feature Sun's OpenOffice on the Google Toolbar, Schmidt responded: "That's speculation. We don't pre-announce our products," he said.

          Sun declined to comment on whether OpenOffice would become a Web-delivered application

      • by everphilski (877346) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:36AM (#13729855) Journal
        -Sun will promote Google Toolbar
        -Google will promote Java runtime and stuff

        Nowhere does it say that there will be a in-browser version on OpenOffice. It's speculation. If you disagree, link me a press release and quote it.

        -everphilski-
    • by Sheriff Fatman (602092) * on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:38AM (#13729879) Homepage
      Google's official statement is that "Sun will include the Google Toolbar as an option in its consumer downloads of the Java Runtime Environment on http://java.com./ [java.com.] In addition, the companies have agreed to explore opportunities to promote and enhance Sun technologies, like the Java Runtime Environment and the OpenOffice.org productivity suite available at http://www.openoffice.org./ [www.openoffice.org]"

      Somehow, the media seem to have spun this into "Under the deal, Google will allow web users to access Sun's OpenOffice from a toolbar." OK, fair enough - if you type "open office" into the Google toolbar, it'll help you 'access' it by telling you you can get it from www.openoffice.org - but it'll do the same for any other office suite, product or search phrase you can think of.

      And then the Inquirer actually goes a step further with "Google has confirmed that it will launch free spreadsheet and word-processing software online and take on Microsoft in one of its biggest markets." Um, no. Google has confirmed nothing of the sort.

      The actual Google press release is at http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/pressrel/sun_t oolbar.html/ [google.com]. You'll notice it doesn't make any reference to Google launching free software or taking on Microsoft.

      But hey. Who needs facts when you can use hype instead?

      • its not (Score:5, Funny)

        by willCode4Beer.com (783783) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:24AM (#13730523) Homepage Journal
        probably more like:

        Invent and write story in blog that the company everybody loves is going to destroy the company everybody loves to hate. People believe it because they want to.

        Buy stock in the company everybody loves to hate at a discount.

        Wait 3 days for everybody to realize its just lies.

        Sell stock for big profit.

        News Flash, SEC starts to investigate bloggers.
    • by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker.gmail@com> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:49AM (#13729991) Journal
      Has there yet to be a serious google rumor that didn't come true?
    • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:03AM (#13730201) Homepage
      By, y'know, existing and stuff, Google has officially confirmed the following:

      • Google will be rolling out an operating system coded entirely in HTML.
      • Google has confirmed it will be running as an Independent candidate for US President in 2008
      • Google will change their name to Googleplex right about the time they turn us all into batteries for running their massive Linux clusters.

      Inquirer's article is so grossly irresponsible, and the summary so inaccurate, that I think this should just be removed

    • by ggvaidya (747058) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:15AM (#13730381) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, that's what I thought too, but you've just gotta read between the lines! From the first link [theinquirer.net]:

      GOOGLE HAS confirmed that it will ... take on Microsoft. ...

      The other day, when Sun's Scott McNealy and ... Google ... met up, ... wary ... point blank, McNealy said ... was something to be investigated. However Sun's Australian spokesman Paul O'Connor was a little more forthright ... he ... bubbled ... wa[r]s ... for Microsoft.

      See, there ya go!
  • Sun's OpenOffice? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meringuoid (568297) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:07AM (#13729557)
    Excuse me. StarOffice is Sun's. OpenOffice is ours.
  • has there been any legitimate hint that they are going to combine to offer spreadsheet/word processing via the web or is all of this just speculation?
    • by twiddlingbits (707452) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:21AM (#13729691)
      Well, most big companies don't sign partnership agreements for the purposes of just looking cool. Google doesn't run Solaris (they use Linux), nor do they use Sun servers (they use cheap white boxes). So, why else would they "partner" with Sun? Google isn't going to swap our the OS on 1000's of servers even if Solaris was FREE, nor are they going to switch hardware. SO...what else does Sun have to offer, StarOffice which competes with MS-Office. It's been pretty obvious Google is targeting MS, since they hired away the guy (Dr. Lee) who was helping MS develop thier strategy for the worlds biggest market (China) until he fell into disfavor with Bill and/or Steve.

      But really using apps over the network is NOT I repeat NOT new. When I started in software in the early 1980s all we had were cheap green-screen Televideo 9600 buad terminals hardwired to a mainframe (or VAX in some cases) server. All the applications ran on the server. This is just an "upgrade" to 1980s technology, with a nicer user interface. I'm not impressed with the idea, but I am glad someone is after MS. INMHO, competition is good and produces better products for less.
    • by Phroggy (441) * <slashdot3 AT phroggy DOT com> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:21AM (#13729697) Homepage
      has there been any legitimate hint that they are going to combine to offer spreadsheet/word processing via the web or is all of this just speculation?

      Not only is it just speculation, it's just speculation from stupid people.

      There's no way in hell Google or anyone else is gonna make an AJAX-based front-end to StarOffice or OpenOffice.org; that's a retarded idea. Google could build their own AJAX-based word processor and spreadsheet, and maybe license some of the code for importing/exporting .doc/.xls formats, but AJAX is completely different from a normal application GUI.
  • by Kjuib (584451) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:08AM (#13729565) Homepage Journal
    Where do I enlist...

    (This is one war I think protesters will be null)
  • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by big_groo (237634) <groovis@@@gmail...com> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:09AM (#13729566) Homepage
    How does this help me when I have no network connectivity?
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Funny)

      by zborgerd (871324) <zborgerd@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:14AM (#13729623) Homepage
      Install OpenOffice?
    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Phroggy (441) *
      How does this help me when I have no network connectivity?

      Exactly the same way that Google Maps helps you, I'd expect. Which is to say not at all.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by SamSim (630795) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:17AM (#13729657) Homepage Journal
      Don't worry, it'll all work offline. However, the toolbar download is over 500MB.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hazee (728152) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:21AM (#13729696)
      And how is MS Office going to help you when you have no electricity?

      Get a reliable network connection, just as you would do for your other utilities.
      • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by enkafan (604078) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:43AM (#13729922)
        I'm not sure if you've been on a plane in the past 10 years, but quite a few people actually use Word Processors and spreadsheet apps on planes on their way to business meetings and the such. You are looking at people in marketting, sales and management not being able to access their documents. That's going to go over famously.
        • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:11AM (#13730316)
          Microsoft didn't win by being the best, they "won" by being the cheapest that works.

          Word wasn't "better" than WordPerfect (if you are running a transcription service or something similar, people have the FASTEST results with WP 5.1 than ANY modern system), and Excel wasn't "better" than Lotus 1-2-3. However, they were less than half the price and you could get the bundle for less than either program individually.

          Sure, business travelers will have no interest in virtual open office... at least for the forseeable future, but home users MIGHT. My wife uses web mail (Gmail), because she can check it at the office AND at home. If she works on a personal document, she emails it to herself. A virtual (GOffice) would work for her.

          Sure, those of us that work on laptops on flights would have no interest, but that doesn't matter.

          If Google grabs the bottom 50% of the market, than Microsoft is in trouble... they can't sell companies on paying $100/machine to OEM office if the competition eats their lunch because home users use Goffice and business users get site licenses.

          Remember why software often is winner-take-all. The costs are 99% R&D, and 1% Variable, therefore, the contribution margin on each sale is close to 99% of price. If Microsoft loses 10% of Office, that could reduce their "profits" by 20%, 30%, or more... If they need 30% of the market to cover their R&D costs, and they hold 70%, than a 10% loss in marketshare loses 25% of their profits...

          Google just needs to eat them from the bottom, and Microsoft is in trouble.

          Microsoft's business REQUIRES being "good enough" for 70%-90% of the markets that they play in. The smaller market remaining forces their competition higher and higher up the chain.

          Apple's OS R&D isn't going to be THAT MUCH smaller than Microsoft's, which forces Apple's prices to be higher (compare Apple's margins on hardware to Microsoft's OEM deals... for fairness, backout the gross margin that other manufacturers make, probably 10%, and you see Apple's OS "premium" which is 8x-10x Microsoft's OEM price)...

          MS SQL Server forced Oracle and DB2 out of the low end of the market, which keeps them in the premium spot despite better tech, because MS SQL is "good enough" and therefore a price drop doesn't grab marketshare for the better players.

          This is why Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL and other Open Source solutions scare Microsoft... Microsoft can't sell a lot of web servers (compared to their marketshare in desktops or Office Suites), because LAMP is "good enough," which has REALLY hurt them... in that they thought they could leverage the Win95 monopoly into a server monopoly, which they never obtained.

          Alex
          • by SamSeaborn (724276) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @12:01PM (#13731040)
            Microsoft didn't win by being the best, they "won" by being the cheapest that works.

            Word wasn't "better" than WordPerfect (if you are running a transcription service or something similar, people have the FASTEST results with WP 5.1 than ANY modern system), and Excel wasn't "better" than Lotus 1-2-3. However, they were less than half the price and you could get the bundle for less than either program individually.

            With respect, you're wrong. WordPerfect and Lotus were the best office apps for *DOS*. Microsoft couldn't sell *any* copies of Word or Excel for DOS because they were out-done.

            Microsoft's business growth depended on selling apps so they devised a strategy to change the platform.

            Microsoft created pushed Windows, and Word and Excel were far-and-away the best Office apps for the Windows environment.

            They couldn't compete on DOS apps, so they changed the platform. This is exactly what Google is now doing to them. No one in the world can compete with Microsoft on Windows Office apps, so Google is changing the platform to the web.

            Will work. Microsoft is in trouble.

            Sam

            • "Google is changing the platform to the web."

              For the past 10 years, we've been told about how the Web was the next platform. How thin clients were going to rise up and take back the market.

              It hasn't happened. As it turns out, thin clients have not taken off. And the Web has not replaced desktop applications.

              Of course, this is Google, and, as their stock price indicates, they can do anything.
              • It hasn't happened. As it turns out, thin clients have not taken off. And the Web has not replaced desktop applications.

                You are wrong. So very very wrong.

                In the old days, I did electronic banking using a fat client. It was a DOS executable that had a proprietary protocol over a dedicated leased line (serial) to the bank. That's all gone now, replaced with a much better thin client (Firefox).

                I can buy my groceries online! I've done it once to see what it was like. I didn't have to install a fat cl

    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:24AM (#13729722)
      It seems to me that Google's future business plans all entail the idea that within 5-10 years, all computers will be online almost all the time. I mean, I can get online at my college campus everywhere except my bathroom. That's the only place that doesn't have an Ethernet port in the wall or wireless access. And if we can do it at most college campuses, and knowing that we've got commerically viable wireless at distances of several miles (article yesterday), we will probably have wireless or high-speed everywhere in the US, or at least covering the majority of the population.
  • Thing to Ponder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:09AM (#13729574) Journal

    All the power to them if they suck some marketshare from Office. But there is one thing about the direction that all this is taking that bothers me.

    TFA says it's not the value of the software but rather the service and content that matters. I'd tend to agree with that statement. But a little part of me can't help but dislike and be paranoid about all these web services. Do you really want the future of web processing to be entirely web based and saved on somebody else's machine? G-mail bothers me like that -- even though I pretty much use it exclusively for e-mail now.

    I'm not a big fan of making all the desktops in the World into dumb terminals -- even if that means some measure of freedom from Microsoft.

    • by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:12AM (#13729605) Journal

      Do you really want the future of web processing to be entirely web based and saved on somebody else's machine?

      That would be word processing and the reason that preview exists. Oh well ;)

    • Re:Thing to Ponder (Score:3, Insightful)

      by yoshi_mon (172895)
      TFA says it's not the value of the software but rather the service and content that matters. I'd tend to agree with that statement. But a little part of me can't help but dislike and be paranoid about all these web services. Do you really want the future of web processing to be entirely web based and saved on somebody else's machine? G-mail bothers me like that -- even though I pretty much use it exclusively for e-mail now.

      Well then don't use online services if they bother you. You have it totally within y
  • With all the nifty cool features of Office 12, I was wondering what OpenOffice was going to do to even it up. Let's face it: OpenOffice is pretty much tracking Office 2000. That's not really that bad. I can get all my work done with OpenOffice no problem. This web front end is a killer feature, especially as the new OpenOffice file format becomes more popular.
  • by panxerox (575545) * on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:10AM (#13729583)

    1. Customers win as there are better cheaper choices

    2. Google wins because well just because they are google

    3. Microsoft because they can now say they have competition



  • by Salo2112 (628590) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:11AM (#13729586)
    Why doesn't Google partner with Sun to release the product in the retail and OEM markets? If you could buy a PC with their office suite pre-installed, it would help them both and send MS into a tizzy. I, for one, am not interested in doing my word processing over the web.
  • by mbrod (19122) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:12AM (#13729596) Homepage Journal
    Having your documents online is more conveniant and more secure. You wouldn't have to pass them around to all the different PC's you use. It is more secure because most at home users computers are riddled with virus's and spyware. A good online office solution is why Google's stock price is so high. They may or may not get there but if anyone has the tools and business culture to do it would be Google. To accomplish a good online Office Suite one would have to play well with others in the standards department and be willing to give some control away. Neither of which Microsoft is capable of doing.
  • From a toolbar? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BobTheAtheist (805111) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:12AM (#13729597)
    What exactly does from a toolbar mean?
    Is it a web app?
    Where does it run from?
    • Re:From a toolbar? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:23AM (#13729720) Journal
      Disclaimer: This post is 100% conjecture[1].

      Sun ported at least the interface portion of StarOffice to Java a while back (they called it Star Portal or something). They could easily bundle the Sun JVM with the Google Toolbar (something they said earlier they would do) then have some kind of Java Web Start thing to download a Java front-end to Star Office which possibly does some processing on the server (although I can't really imagine what, unless Sun wanted to re-invent NeWS with a Java front-end replacing the PostScript portion).

      [1] That means made up.

  • "Under the deal, Google will allow web users to access Sun's OpenOffice from a toolbar."
    So where is OpenOffice, is it on het net or on the pc? If it's on the pc then I don't see a big difference between having an FTP client plus OpenOffice?
  • google beat em (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ErichTheWebGuy (745925) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:13AM (#13729616) Homepage
    Googe has beaten Microsoft to the "software as a service" model. Bill has been talking about how "you have to offer software as a service" for a while now... It's ironic that someone else beat em.
  • by Kope (11702) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:17AM (#13729653)
    A few years ago, the world's leading computer company almost went under because it didn't understand the paradigm shift that had happened.

    Because IBM didn't understand the value of the desktop to the user, and Microsoft did, IBM lost big time. Only by totally reinventing themselves as a service provider FIRST and a computer company second did IBM survive.

    Today, Sun and Google understand the value of the internet to the user, and Microsoft doesn't. They never have. That's why to this day, despite numerous losses and being forced to bow to consummer demands, MS thinks "embracing and extending" open network protocol standards is a good thing. Microsoft can not survive a market place they don't understand. No business can.

    You either make money, or eventually you fail, that's the reality of business. In a world where computer software production is becomming more and more commodity production, MS doesn't know how to survive. Sun and Google do. So, Bill, meet Sam Palmisano, he can teach you a bit about what you will need to do after the bankrupcy . . .
  • Deleting Office (Score:3, Interesting)

    by digitaldc (879047) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:21AM (#13729687)
    Cool! Now I can delete the 1GB of files needed to operate Office XP!
  • by Michalson (638911) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:25AM (#13729735)
    Ignoring the fact that this seems like more speculation (already well discussed with less then 10 comments), how exactly is this a threat to Microsoft and its Office family? Microsoft's main customer for it's 500$+ office suite is not home users, but businesses. Taking away some home users (half of whom where likely running pirated copies) is like a drop in the barrel.

    For a business, dropping out $500 isn't much, especially when compared to wages (this is something OSS needs to understand when they try and convince businesses they're cheaper - the initial cost is meaningless, they want figures on the support cost). On the other hand, having your critical work depend on a network connection to some internet server is quite a huge risk (especially if you can't call up that internet server and demand instant human support for any little problem). And that's before you figure in the fact that Google's whole business model is personal information data mining. Even if Google is going to give their song and dance that they won't use it for evil, most companies aren't going to let a 3rd party store their documents, let alone run an automated program over every document they have mining out key information. As has been shown in the past "Google Hacking" is often used to get to information you weren't supposed to see. Can you imagine "Google Hacking" used for corporate espionage? A company wants to know if their competitor is looking into sprockets. So they take out an "ad" on Google specifically targeted at that keyword, but with completely different ad text. They then record IPs from incoming clicks to gauge if that ad was shown to people in the target company a lot, indicating that Google had mined that phrase from many of their documents and emails (gmail). And that's before you consider the fact that Google becomes a serious hacking target (even to hostile foreign governments), since a breach would affect tens of thousands of companies. With so many eggs in one basket it might be enough to warrent a physical breakin, stealing the data of thousands of companies, which are then sold to competitors or held for blackmail.
    • For a business, dropping out $500 isn't much, especially when compared to wages

      Actually most medium size businesses that I know off complain about the high cost of Office. However after long negotiations, M$ usually offers much better values on bundles.
  • Details? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frankie70 (803801) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:25AM (#13729736)
    What are the details?

    What's it going to be
    1) Google directs you to the staroffice website for you to download &
    install it locally on your machine & google provides a place for you to
    store your documents

    OR

    2) Google & Sun rebuild StarOffice as a Webservice & then allow you
    to edit your document through a webapp & also proves a place for
    you to store your documents

    Model 1 -> In my opinion, doesn't provide anything new. You
    can do it now. Still doesn't solve the problem of people being
    locked to Microsoft's format.

    Model 2 -> May be good - may solve the problem of people being bound to
    the Microsoft document format (i.e. the format isn't important if you have
    a service, which is always accessible to everyone to open/edit/print it,
    but there is one problem.
    50% of the time, documents are edited offline. It's going to be some
    years, before people are online all the time. Even when that happens,
    what happens if your service goes down & you need to edit the document
    coz you have a presentation in 15 minutes.
    Plus can a webbased service really provide all the functionality & speed of
    a native application?
  • by HateBreeder (656491) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:26AM (#13729747)
    This is yet another milestone in Google's quest to achieve access to all of our personal information.

    I bet they'll be crawling all the documents you type, all the data you input, cross refer that with all your mail from your GMail account/Online searches/Google-Maps activity/Google Talk conversations/ISP traffic where Google-Wifi is available, etc.

    It seems we're all waiting for it to become "too late" before we realize what's been going on.
    Google can do far greater damage then Microsoft ever could.
    Soon enough, Google would turn out to be our worst privacy intrusion nightmare.
    Wake up people!
  • Er (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cca93014 (466820) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:26AM (#13729751) Homepage
    Can someone explain to me how you access a thick client application from a browser toolbar?
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:27AM (#13729756) Homepage
    I certainly hope so! I have enjoyed using OO.o and hope to see continued development on that project. I would like to see the project focus more on the speed of execution and loading. It's a bit slow even if it is worth the wait. Admittedly MS Office "cheats" by preloading components into the operating system, but then so should OO.o. Under Windows, I understand that OO.o already does some preloading, but I'm a Linux user primarily and only use Win+OO.o when I have to move data from Linux to Windows.

    Or perhaps the problem I am describing has already been managed and I just haven't caught on -- this wouldn't be the first time. So if anyone could offer answers, I'm listening. I use FC4 and keep it as "stock" as possible by using only updates from the main channels. (I have broken my own rules, recently by subscribing myself to the nr-production channels to gain access to Gnome 2.12 as I have found it to be VASTLY faster and VASTLY more stable than 2.10 or whatever FC4 normally uses.)

    Anyway... I digress... I hope Google will participate, then, in the development of OO.o and perhaps even in the Linux Desktop movement!
  • by phlegmofdiscontent (459470) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:29AM (#13729777)
    It's about time. I wanna see those Google tanks take on the Microsoft cyborgs with all the cluster bombing and the killing and Redmond getting nuked and I wouldn't wanna fuck around with Steve Ballmer, I can just imagine him in a torn shirt and a bandana armed with a minigun and stabbing the wounded with his bayonet and Bill Gates wired into some massive battle computer and Steve Jobs just biding his time waiting for them to destroy each other so he can piss on the ashes.......... Man, this is some good coffee!!!
  • Lovin it! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HerculesMO (693085) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:29AM (#13729778)
    The day I may use Linux as freely as I am forced to use Windows to play my games, do my work, etc... is coming closer. If Google can make a concerted push to use OpenOffice then the document exchange I need done on a regular basis will be easy between Linux and Windows users.

    Now if only Linux was as EASY to use as Windows, and we are there. I'm thinking something Mac OSX-esque for Linux -- Google has the means to deliver it. They don't need to release their own distro of Linux, but they can release a KDE/GNOME competitor that makes using Linux a BREEZE.

    I'm just waiting for the day :)
  • Google's brand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Douglas Simmons (628988) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:29AM (#13729781) Homepage
    Forbes is wrong. I'm sure many other posts cover the software specifics and each company's history of innovations, but I want to say something about how Google's been so successfully branded. I cannot think of a more successfully branded company than Google. It's even in the dictionary. [reference.com] Microsoft's software, from OSs to pbrush.exe, is widely regarded by regular users (not the slashdot crowd) as unstable and complicated. The company's brand is not immaculate like Google, for example MS is stained with their relationship with the Dept of Justice while Google is still seen as the underdog. MS is the 800 pound gorilla, Google's founders and top execs are a few kids. Innocence. In addition to its popular search service, people are embracing excitedly the new toys Google hands out (EG Google Earth, Gmail).

    Yes, MS has some strong arming advantages in their tactics to protect themselves from Google, but they've already been limited by the government, people are becoming frustrated with MSFT's stock performance [yahoo.com] over the past five years, and CNBC has been pointing out threats like Linux and the world is taking it seriously.

    So, in addition to software quality, Google's war will be helped greatly by their brand, imo.

  • The beginning... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LilBandit (192155) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:32AM (#13729815)
    It finally starts. The general public might finally understand that there is an alterative to MS.

    Two years ago I introduced firefox to a friend who I thought was tech savvy but I was amazed by her reaction, "You're telling me we have a choice of what browser we want to use?" Needless to say I was floored. Non geeks know who Sun is but everybody including Joe "I don't need no dang computer" Sixpack knows who Google is.

    Let's forget for a moment that this is Sun's Star Office and not Open Office, and it's Google and web-based.

    This maybe the moment when the general public finally realizes that they have a choice what software to run. This can only be good for OSS if marketed/reported in the right way.

    Let's not get over zealous bashing M$ and say screaming about Linux, OpenOffice, Gimp & NVU...baby steps...our time will come.

    And remember...do no evil!
  • by Mori Chu (737710) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:33AM (#13729826)
    Google isn't declaring "war" on Microsoft. That isn't their way. I know several people who work at Google, and they just don't talk about "killing" companies the way Microsoft employees do. It truly is a different work culture there. If someone does use "the K word" at an all-hands meeting or something, the bosses are quick to say that they don't want the employees to think about things that way.

    Google can be a resoundingly successful company even if Microsoft is alive and well, and they're fine with that. The only thing Google needs from Microsoft is for them not to put up artificial barriers to accessing Google's services, such as modifying IE in ways that hamper Google. So I'm sure Google would love to see everyone using a non-MS browser such as Firefox.

    I really think Google's strategy is (or should be) to lift the key services and applications from the OS up into well-made web services. Word processing is a huge one for most of us. I'm still anxiously hoping that a calendar and scheduler (Outlook-type program) comes along soon to integrate with Gmail. Once Google fills those needs, assuming they do it well, I'll really enjoy having consistent services that I can use from anywhere, on any platform.
  • by dep01 (730107) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:47AM (#13729957) Homepage
    "Under the deal, Google will allow web users to access Sun's OpenOffice from a toolbar."

    That doesn't mean Google will launch an online/web-enabled write/spreadsheet application. That could be something as miniscule as linking to OpenOffice.org from the GoogleToolbar to "download" the application. Google has not confirmed the development of a web-enabled word processor. Everyone has simply drawn that conclusion based upon speculation.

    I want something official or nothing at all.

  • by klang (27062) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @10:51AM (#13730020)
    File -> new document -> templates -> report -> I'm feeling Lucky!
  • Why Ooo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by katorga (623930) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:08AM (#13730271)
    Why? OOo from a toolbar means a bloated install for the end user and does not match the spirit of other web-based ajax offerings. Ooo is 1990's technology and paradigm. I would have expected Google to be more forward thinking and develop something similar to writely, a true web-based (thin and light) collaborative writing tool.

    Search for Kiko, Num Sum and Writely to get an idea of a web-based office.

  • by WebbedWell (910508) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:18AM (#13730419) Homepage
    When Microsoft signed the deal with Sun, they never realized that Google might want to use that against them. They can now use Sun software as a service via Google, and infringe on any of Microsoft's Office patents, without the threat of a lawsuit. OpenOffice does not have this ability. Microsoft WOULD sue Openoffice.org if it became very popular. Under the agreement, there is no limit to the way Sun could distribute the application/service.

    Go Google!
  • One problem... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ChrisF79 (829953) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @11:18AM (#13730429) Homepage
    Completely obvious, but it seems to me that the target market for office software would be the corporate world. The problem I see with Google's idea is that it runs on the web, no? I can tell you right now that the publicly traded company I work for would never switch to Google's online office software because of the security risk associated with us putting our closely held financials online with the potential of them getting stolen. Even if the software had never been broken, or if it ran on Java with no connection to the net once it were running, the folks that make the decisions around here would still perceive it to be a huge security risk and not give it the light of day. Just my $0.02.
  • Gah. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zebra_X (13249) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @12:32PM (#13731474)
    Open Office is most certainly *not* going to be a web based application. My guess is that it will be refitted to be launched by the google toolbar and allow you to use google as a storage area for your documents (do you really want to do that?). That's great that it's free though.

    There is no war here, move along.
  • by JVert (578547) <corganbilly AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday October 06, 2005 @01:29PM (#13732146) Journal
    If the spreadsheets are stored on the google servers where they are easilly accessed by other coworkers...

    I'm tired of emailing my coworker a spreadsheet that is at a clients house, has to download the email open it, use it, close it, email it and hope I haven't done anything with it.
  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @01:36PM (#13732225)
    It's the sound of hundreds of chairs in being violently thrown across rooms in Redmond...
  • Google Toolbar (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Momoru (837801) on Thursday October 06, 2005 @03:48PM (#13733479) Homepage Journal
    Everyone is hyping this out of control, if you look at the actual deal, the main thing going on is that Google gets to have it's spyware-like toolbar installed when you install Java. Because the Java install needed more bloat.

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