Monday, August 3, 2009

Can Google challenge Microsoft Office?

Google is on the offensive. Target: Microsoft.

Less than a week after Microsoft's deal to become Yahoo's organic search provider, not long after introducing their much-improved search product Bing, and creating a seemingly viable competitor in search, Google is firing back at one of Microsoft's most profitable businesses .... Microsoft Office.

This is not the first time. Ads for Google Apps (obviously targeting Microsoft) have been proliferating the Internet for several weeks.

Google is doing the billboard thing (Yes, billboards!), examples of which an be found on a new 'Google Apps, Share the Word' page here.

The new ad campaign is also encouraging commercial customers of Google Apps to share their stories.

The question remains ... will more users embrace 'cloud computing'?

Google's offerings are almost entirely online. The advantage being that you don't have to download patches and updates to your PC or Mac. On the flip side, there's still a long way to go before many users will trust putting a majority of their documents and/or sensitive documents online.

Microsoft currently offers both options, although they haven't been as aggressive in pushing their online product recently. Microsoft Office Live has been improving over time and many applications directly 'talk' to Microsoft Office client products, making syncing easier.

Both companies offer a free version of their online products as well.

Early conclusions?

Just as Google managed to force to US Telcos to 'open' some of the brand new US mobile spectrum by bidding actively in the FCC auctions (and lobbying heavily for open space), Google could push Microsoft's margins down on Office without even making a substantial dent in the user base.

Windows 7 is already seeing price pressure and adjusting accordingly.

Is this a violation of the Google 'do no evil' mantra?

It's not.

It's called business. It's good for the consumer .. and both companies need to stay keenly aware of the future, while continuing to innovate and diversify in order to maintain their leadership positions.

The Going Google post to the Official Google Blog can now be found here.