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Google Challenging Microsoft For Business Software 235

SternisheFan tips a report at the NY Times about the progress Google is making in its quest to unseat Microsoft's position atop the business software industry. From the article: It has taken years, but Google seems to be cutting into Microsoft's stronghold — businesses. ... In the last year Google has scored an impressive string of wins, including at the Swiss drug maker Hoffmann-La Roche, where over 80,000 employees use the package, and at the Interior Department, where 90,000 use it. One big reason is price. Google charges $50 a year for each person using its product, a price that has not changed since it made its commercial debut, even though Google has added features. In 2012, for example, Google added the ability to work on a computer not connected to the Internet, as well as security and data management that comply with more stringent European standards. That made it much easier to sell the product to multinationals and companies in Europe. ... Microsoft says it does not yet see a threat. Google 'has not yet shown they are truly serious,' said Julia White, a general manager in Microsoft’s business division. 'From the outside, they are an advertising company.'"
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Google Challenging Microsoft For Business Software

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  • Awful Summary (Score:1, Insightful)

    by PhillC ( 84728 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:47AM (#42393393) Homepage Journal

    "....Swiss drug maker Hoffmann-La Roche, where over 80,000 employees use the package." - Which package?

    "Google added the ability to work on a computer not connected to the Internet...." - Really? This is a Google invention?

    Context is everything. Simply snipping an article excerpt, without correct context, is poor editorial work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:12AM (#42393449)

    Microsoft says it does not yet see a threat.

    Isn't this what happened to Microsoft in the mobile/phone/tablet space? Now they are playing catch-up to both Google and Apple. Complacency is a dangerous copilot.

  • by olau ( 314197 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:31AM (#42393509) Homepage

    Now gmail and to some extent also video chat in Google are pretty impressive. But the rest of the Google Apps are pretty pathetic feature-wise compared to MS Office. Except for collaboration features that just work out of the box.

    But the problem for Microsoft is that with more and more business communication never going through paper, many of these features are actually not terribly important compared to effortless collaboration, in fact their existence just make the products more complicated.

    An exception here might be Excel and the support for extending Word/Excel/Outlook - some people integrate their workflow toolchain into Office rather than the other way around. But still, a sizable chunk of Microsoft's market could probably switch and be happier.

    I guess that's why Microsoft is jumping on the cloud bandwagon too. Which strikes me as a smart idea, I do think that most organizations would probably prefer to continue to pay Microsoft, even if it's a bit more expensive.

  • Re:SharePoint (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erp_consultant ( 2614861 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @09:47AM (#42394065)

    I've never seen it implemented properly either. From my experience I've seen document versions disappear and the whole checkin/checkout thing seems to get confused. So people end up doing a save as and giving the new version a different name than the previous one...defeating the purpose of SharePoint. It seems to be quite slow as well. Again, maybe this was just the way it was being managed but I'm still looking for a correctly implemented version.

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @09:51AM (#42394081)

    That's funny... I've never had gmail lock up... or tell me I had too much mail and I couldn't send until I deleted some... Outlook is a dinosaur and it's time for it to die.

  • by Prof.Phreak ( 584152 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @10:08AM (#42394185) Homepage

    Don't forget the whole internet thing and how they ignored it.

  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @10:15AM (#42394229) Homepage

    How did MS Office become dominant? Because Wordperfect was run by morons who thought that even though Windows was the dominant platform they could just sit on ass and repackage their DOS version and made a buggy POS that bombed.

    That is not at all what happened. First off Microsoft Word for DOS at the time of the Windows switch was already a rather good product and quite popular. While it was clearly in 2nd / 3rd place it wasn't coming out of nowhere.

    WordPerfect was heavily focused on cross platform and many non DOS versions. They were working on a Windows versions and came out within about a year of Windows 3.0's release. DOS was still the dominant platform when WordPerfect for Windows came out. It wasn't all that much more buggy than any of the word Processors were. Word was a bit faster, and better integrated the all around best experience but AmiPro, WordPerfect... were better and frankly DeScribe was likely the most feature rich least buggy word processor of the time.

    Where Microsoft won was price pure and simple. $129 "competitive upgrades" for an entire office suite when most of the competition was selling each component at $495 (retail) was devastating. WordPerfect was hit with a common problem where it made economic sense for them lose marketshare rather than immediately cut prices by 90%. They eventually did offer a product mixed with Borland's Paradox and QuatroPro but by then it was too late.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @10:19AM (#42394261) Homepage Journal

    I might want some of what you're smoking.

    Microsoft made their money on Windows and Office. When they lose that base, they are on the way down. When the fall starts, it will accelerate rapidly.

    On second thought, no, I don't want any of what you're smoking.

  • by Cytotoxic ( 245301 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @11:06AM (#42394563)

    Microsoft Live is not yet Google Docs, and Google Docs are a long way from Microsoft Office (though each is getting closer).

    For a large volume of uses Google Docs is sufficient. If you need to create a simple memo or even a modest legal document Docs is certainly good enough. But it is not remotely getting closer to Office in the larger picture. Office is moving forward much, much faster in high-end business applications. Just take the example of Excel: the new data analysis and reporting capabilities built in to Excel are simply amazing. They exceed anything available from the best vertical reporting apps just a few years back, and are accessible to advanced business users for "playing around" with the data in ways that formerly would have required advanced data warehouse experts. These features in Excel are game changing in the corporate environment where Excel is a stock application for all business user desktops.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:32PM (#42395301)

    Here's the other thing a lot of people miss when discussing this issue, as well:

    Many (bigger) companies would rather have "one office suite to rule them all" than "two separate office suites - one for 'type a memo' guy, and one for 'i need deep and powerful data analysis tools built into my spreadsheet' guy." Especially when those two office suites may not be easily inter-operable.

    There is additional support costs associated with having two different packages, and there is an additional "waste" cost associated with it as well - not everybody who requests an MS Office install is going to strictly need it; not everybody who has Google Apps only will be able to get everything he needs done easily.

    So, purchasing decisions are made in the interests of simplicity and giving everybody a standard tool to work with, and I'd be surprised if Microsoft's Enterprise Agreements weren't reasonably competitive with this on a per-user basis, especially when you figure in the additional features and functionality available that Google Apps simply doesn't have.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @01:59PM (#42396243)

    How is this related to the story of business software? I know Slashdot loves to trash Apple (or whoever is on top at the moment), but at least make your comment relate to the discussion please.

  • Re:SharePoint (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:42PM (#42398885)

    You've never seen it properly implemented? Are you kidding? Has *anyone* seen Sharepoint properly implemented? *Can* anyone implement Sharepoint properly? All positive I hear about Sharepoint is akin to: "Sharepoint is great because of X, Y and Z! Unfortunately you need a team bigger than your current development team just to do less than you currently do! Yay!" Of course, most of the people who push it are Microsoft crackheads...

    The success cases for Sharepoint are slow and fragile web sites. It is simply the latest Microsoft sham for deluding irresponsible CEOs into tying their companies to them.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.