As I was browsing through Google News this morning, I noticed a cluster of stories about online productivity suites. At Burton Group, we continue to have Dialogues with clients about alternatives to Microsoft Office, so I thought it would be useful to provide a subset of those stories (removing the rants) along with a précis or quote:
- Christopher Dawson, “Google Edu Apps vs. Microsoft Web Apps: Should I have waited?”, ZDNet, September 21, 2009. The Athol-Royalston School District in Massachusetts moved to Google Apps in August 2009: “students are using Apps quite naturally, even if some teachers and staff are a bit more reluctant.”
- Bryon Acohido, “Microsoft takes notice as more people use free Google Docs,” USA Today, September 21, 2009. A story highlighting IDC’s July QuickPoll saying 27% of respondents are already widely using Google Docs or expect to be within a year, and then quoting Microsoft’s Chris Capossela, noting that Office 2010 will have web apps. "A healthy percentage of Google Docs adoption is coming from ad hoc use," Webster says. "It's the classic case of employees making use of free consumer (online) services to get their work done, without asking permission."
- Tim Anderson, “Microsoft's Office Web Apps - a long way from here: Inside the (half-baked) tech preview,” Channel Register, September 21, 2009. A catalogue of the pluses and minuses of the Technical Preview of the Office Web Apps: “The Office Web Apps look great, present a familiar Office-like user interface, and generally render faithfully. The Silverlight-driven previews look particularly good, with smooth zooming and the ability to pop-out documents into a separate window. The main hesitations are around the limited editing features and the poor performance, which we must hope will be fixed before release.”
- Jason Brooks, “REVIEW: Office Web Apps Will Pose Strong Counterattack Against Google Apps, Zoho,” eWeek, September 21, 2009. “Microsoft recently pulled back the curtain on its Office Web Apps in the form of a limited-access technical preview, and according to eWeek Labs' tests so far, the Office Web Apps suite—while studded with its fair share of tech preview warts—signals that Microsoft's counterattack on the online office encroachment of Google, Zoho and others is off to a solid start.”
- Zack Whittaker, “Students vs. Google Apps vs. Office Web Apps,” ZDNet, September 22, 2009. A student at the University of Kent in the UK compares Google Apps with Microsoft’s Office Web Apps.
- Barry Collins, “Microsoft Office Web Apps review: first look,” PC Pro, September 22, 2009. “Although it’s clearly very early days for these online apps, the obvious fear is that Office Web Apps will only be useful for editing documents created in the desktop software, and of limited use when attempting to create documents from scratch. That may be a sensible move for a company seeking to protect its desktop software revenues, but will disappoint anyone hoping the Web Apps would provide an alternative to the regular Office upgrade cycle. Indeed, if you want to make Web Apps part of your company’s workflow - or even your own - you’ll need to upgrade to Office 2007 or 2010.”