Google to Microsoft: We will steal 90% of your Office users

What Christmas gift do you get the company that seems to have everything? If you ask Google, they want 90% of the Microsoft Office market to defect over to Google Apps. Is that too tall of an order for the search giant?

According to Business Insider, Google's Amit Singh, head of Enterprise business, thinks the company can do just that. Back in 2011, the company was barely able to compete in the enterprise market. They were large, slow, and unable to navigate long competitive bids. Toyota recalls that Google had to drop out of the bid process that ultimately led to Microsoft Office 365 winning out. But now, Singh says that Google is more agile and can convince large companies to save money by giving up their Microsoft Office addiction and moving to the Google cloud.

One of the key "features" is the simplicity of Google Apps. While Microsoft Office may have more bells and whistles, Google is banking on the fact that most people have no interest in those advanced use cases. Indeed, when using Word, how many times do you simply format, type, and print? We'd venture to say that does indeed fit the majority of users.

Roughly 96% of Google's revenue currently comes from ads, and in order to diversify, it's imperative for Google to improve in other market segments. Time will tell if Google can take such a large bite out of Microsoft Office's business

Source: Business Insider

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Yes the average Joe who owns Office, yes doesn't need all the bells and whistles like Google says. However as with the Windows platform, 65% of the Windows user do need them. Even tho they themselves may not use them, but they never know when a client may use them and to insure 100% compatibility, they will stick with Office. Yes Google may want 90%, but they will only get 30%.

If you follow the links up to the original note, you get to the actual phrase: "Our goal is to get to the 90 percent of users who don't need to have the most advanced features of Office."

Now, english is not my first language, but if I would have to translate that, it would be ambiguous. I'd like to know from you, whether there's a posibility that he was refering to "90% of the user base who don't need the advanced features", as opposed to "90% of the whole Office user base."

And in fact, I use exactly NONE of the advanced features of Office (or any Office application - I left programming in Access behind when I moved first to Interbase, and then to SQL, in 1998) - yet Office has been my productivity suite of choice since (don't faint) 1995 - and I came from WordPerfect. GoogleDocs isn't even mildly a threat to Office - StarOffice/OpenOffice.org/LibreOffice *could* be - if it gained an Outlook-class mail program (KMail could become that program, if it became multi-platform). However, Outlook (the most oveerelokd Office application) is largely why I have no plans for leaving the Office any time soon; each iteration brings yet more reasons why any possible competition hasn't caught up with it *yet* - and none of those reasons has anything to do with Microsoft Exchange.

seba1976 said,
If you follow the links up to the original note, you get to the actual phrase: "Our goal is to get to the 90 percent of users who don't need to have the most advanced features of Office."

So why does google think that people want to use their web thing instead of the FREE Office 2010 Starter edition or MS cloud offering when it is 100% compatible with the Office that the advanced users sit on?
Sorry, but Google devs are thinking with their elbows on this one.

seba1976 said,
I'd like to know from you, whether there's a posibility that he was refering to "90% of the user base who don't need the advanced features", as opposed to "90% of the whole Office user base."

Could anybody spare me an answer on that?

It's definitely possible. However I think it boils down to roughly the same numbers as I'd guess 95% (or more) of people don't need/use the advanced features of Office.

Companies will want to store docs on their servers, document management systems, and other.. No one is going to want to have all their work product saved in Google apps.

Jeez! A computer company that can't even do simple arithmetic.

About 20% of Microsoft's Office clients are in China. Google services are not available in China. So if they can only reach 80% how are they going to steal 90%?

What a moron....

Sorry but love the way exchange works. Bad for Google dropping the exchange support I don't think they can even steal few percent if they decide to stay on their weird version of IMAP

Which even Outlook has no issue with (in fact, Outlook is my IMAP client of choice, and entirely due to how well it supports GMail).

Do no evil.

Good luck to anyone trusting their docs to Google - you deserve everything that happens to you.

This demonstrates that Google STILL does not get why Office is popular in corporations/enterprise.

They also STILL do not notice that access to G-Services are being restricted because of their horrid and invasive privacy policies that ACTUALLY violate most corporate requirements in that Google and their employees have 'human readable' access to all information stored on GDocs, GDrive, GMail, etc...

Good luck Google, but when over 20% of the corporations/enterprises around the world prohibition use of Google services, including sending outside email to GMail addresses, they will NEVER obtain any credible market share.


For everyone that is using GDocs for online viewing/sharing - stop yourself now, and just use Office Web instead. It actually formats even complex documents correctly, and preserves file formats. Stop sending people links to GDocs, not everyone can even view them universally.

I don't want software to be dependent on an internet connection, heaven forbid the internet goes out and our redundant line doesn't work, we have to stop work now and wait? heck no...

Google is about web apps, Microsoft is about web apps, office desktop client, office 365.
I have customers who switched over to google since it seemed cheaper and easier but came back to the Microsoft technology stack begging us to take their money.

I have worked on 100+ pages of Google Word Doc, and I have to say...the experience is sub-par at best. Loading 100+ pages can overwhelm Chrome/Firefox with 100% CPU power usage for like 30 seconds with complete UI freeze...and this is on a 2010 Macbook Pro with 8Gb ram and 512Gb SSD. The freeze would last over a minute or two on a Acer AspireOne 722 netbook.

I mean, if that's what Google intends to use to steal 90% of MS Office users, I'd say Google needs to catch up.

I find this claim to be completely laughable since Microsoft are extending the reach of Office beyond Windows and OSX in terms of native, offline clients.

LMAO ya keep dreaming Google. My workplace sadly switched to Google Enterprise last year, and it's been hell ever since. I actually almost considered quitting because of the serious drop in productivity, but decided to wait it out for them to hopefully switch. Calendar appointments disappearing, documents not transferring over and compatible, offine access is horrible, high priority emails getting lost, the list goes on and on. Office 365 is a much more value-added service especially with Office 2013 and the new version of the Web Apps. A company would be stupid to switch to Google, same with consumers when the free version of Office Web Apps is much more nicer and compatible than the lame Google Docs.

they are now saying most people do not need those many features in ms office. meanwhile, they are gradually adding more features. once google apps becomes more comparable to ms office, they will play with different rules and claim that google apps is as good as office and serve both novice users and advanced users well. its sad that many people still fall for that.

Google is banking on the fact that most people have no interest in those advanced use cases.

And despite popular belief google is totally right.

This said as long as google doesn't provide an offline solution i don't see this happening.

If Google is taking 90% of Office users, then in this strange alternate reality world, Windows Phone will have 90% market share and Linux will rule the desktop!

Microsoft Office is the gold standard. It just is so much superior, it isn't even funny. My saying this has nothing to do about loving Microsoft or hating Google, it's the simple plain truth.

Don't see it happening really. Not that long ago we were starting up the business and setup a Google Docs app to collaborate on documents and for email. All of that is being replaced by Exchange and SharePoint/Office. Neither Gmail nor Google Apps are nowhere near good enough as Microsoft's offerings. Glad they're discontinuing the free Google apps so hopefully more people will stay away from them...

For me it's not about the features that Microsoft Office provides, more about using software that I'm familiar with and I know has no formatting issues with my documents.

I remember thinking the same - in 1987. (Specifically, WordPerfect 4.0 for MS-DOS and IBM mainframes.) However, shortly after Microsoft stubbed their toe with Word 5.0 for DOS, it was WordPerfect with the toe-stub with WordPerfect for Windows; the issue was, oddly enough, backward-compatibility - something that WordPerfect had been usually the best at.

so you trust them with MS?? they all want to make money. simple as that.
you would be fool if you think MS is devoted to you.

I did use Google Docs quite a lot due to it's convenience over MS Office, however, Google's new habit of streamlining makes me not want to put to much time behind their services and Office just looks and works so much better.

I tought it was Chrismas, turns out it's already 1 April...

No seriously, if they want 90% of Microsoft Offices user base, there is a lot of work that need to be done: more features, offline applications and last but not least: sell it to another company that doesn't use users data to get money...

And even when that happens, I stay with Microsoft Office, why? If I want an online version, there is Office Web Apps, it's younger that Google Docs, but has more features and is compatible with Microsoft Office, it doesn't change the markup. And ofcourse, there is SkyDrive that also is a better service than Google Drive. Available on all large platforms and more space, extra space is cheaper. I don't need Google, I've got Microsoft Office.

No one steals anyone's data! You should read the terms and conditions in the footer of any website before signing up! Every websites mines the data because you've already given them consent to do! And as I mentioned in my long post above, they aren't selling your personal data in the open market! They just use it to develop patterns, algorithms to smarter their apps, services and ad-targetting software so they can monetize their website! Don't use it if you're so paranoid because Microsoft and everyone else also mines your data!

Ok. So apart from businesses who's the second largest MS enterprise customer? That would the public sector. Now considering that not many countries would actually farm out their data to servers located in a foreign nation, how does Google intend to go after that market, which potentially is 25-35% of MS Office market-share? As I recall a UK public office recently reversed course from open office (can't remember which one; Libre Office...??), and is returning to using MS Office due to associated increased IT expenses. So for Google to even think they could get 20% of MS Office market is a joke for now.
MS has really bolstered their online capabilities with Office 2013 and Office365 to a point where Google might actually start seeing drop in users rather than an increase. I currently use Office2013 together with a trial of Office 365 and I would like to try with the addition of SharePoint. I can't wait!

If google would really want to take 90%, then they better bring an office suite that would rival MS Office. Yes, some would say that only a few functionalities are used, but the majority of Office users are in the enterprise and business environments were advance features, even in MS Word, are utilized.

In addition, while cloud is the solution for SOME companies, there are enterprises out there that are not buying into the cloud due to sensitive data and materials. They would rather create their own data centers than let any companies handle it for them.

I prefer Wordpad over Google Documents. If organization just wanted to save money they would have switched to OpenOffice or LibreOffice, in terms of functionality Google Docs is no better than these open source solutions. I think MS's new subscription plans which lets enterprieses and normal users use Online as well as Offline versions are the way to go.

And if you prefer a cloud-based option, there IS OWA (Office Web Apps) which is absolutely free and is non-dependent on a specific browser (as I pointed out above, it works in *Waterfox* - which Google Docs does not). Outlook.com (to which I migrated from Hotmail) tag-teamed with Outlook (which has been my GMail client of choice since I got GMail) is proving itself at least as solid as GMail, if not better. (I don't plan on getting rid of GMail, as it is my interface with all things Google, as Outlook.com performs the same regarding Microsoft, so it's not really Google services vs. Microsoft services.)

There needs to be offline. Just imagine running a business and there there is no internet. Every penny they saved by going to Google's cloud will be gone and then some. It happened to our company, no internet but luckily we stil had the intranet for internal communication and the phone for external communication. We also had MS Office so while some people had to go home due to lack of work the majority stil had something to do. It's estimated the fall out costs the company over a 100,000 euros.

So the cloud is no substitute for a real company, especially Google's cloud. Apart from obvious security concerns Google's solutions arent robust enough. For most people in the company the basic format, type and print would be enough. However there are also plenty that require more functionality out of their Office applications, especially Word, Excel and Access. A lot of our semi-automized processes rely on these applications.

I think offline support will come with the inclusion of Native Client into a future google chrome build. Native client is meant to be able to run offline applications etc.

Sorry, they have a long way to go catching up with Office Web Apps, let alone full blown Office 2013. For casual use, Office Web Apps is better, for complex productivity, Office 2013/365. Heck, I would rather choose LibreOffice.

Microsoft support for Hebrew is superb! Until Google sorts that out there no question what apps i'll use.
I know that Hebrew speaking users are a percentile of all users but I guess that's the case with a lot more non English languages.

One more thing is that today the majority of users use MS office. If Google can't provide proven compatibility to MS office, I don't see that move happening...
(Again, speaking about Hebrew files created in Google Docs converted to Word for an instance...)

I can't see an accountant using Google Sheets over MS Excel... Even in Google Chrome, Google Apps is still a little choppy.. nowhere near close to a native application replacement; at least not yet. Good for basic tasks and sharing. The sharing features are probably its best point. MS has nothing to worry about here... If I even mentioned this to my boss he would laugh, as I am doing while reading this article.

Office 2013 now supports Open Document Format version 1.2 which is what Open/Libre Office default format in. Google Docs use's Open Document Format, but not 100% which version.

Cross compatibility won't be a problem in the near future between products. I suspect Google has a major overhaul up it's sleeve in the near future of Google docs.

oh wait what happens when google wants to change something to a different type of open source document. why would any company in there right mind even think about using information stealing bitch like google within their secure servers.

Yes, Google has engineers reading emails from each of the different 500 million users. They use a pen and paper to markdown your important dates, credit card info, etc. /s
Honestly, quit whining about google reading your emails. You're basically a cell in a row in a giant SQL, HDFS etc.database. There's no specific giant screen at the googleplex displaying every single user and their personal info. Your data is annoymously scanned using data mining algorithms to find important information such as birthdays, contextual information and other important tidbits. All this informations helps gmail to become selfaware so it can notify you of important events and other details. The data that you give google is only used to help hone their algorithms and help make the service. They can monetize it to make better ad targetting systems but then again, this is the best free email service. You're free to setup your own email server at home. Read the TOS before signing up to another web service. Almost all web apps and service mine the data. It helps them improve their applications and also maybe later to monetize your data. Google nor other big companies would be stupid enough to display a giant billboard with your picture and personal information no matter how stupid Instagram's TOS sounded like. If you're so afraid of your privacy, don't post private or important details of your life including your personal photos, credit card numbers. Big Data is the future and this is the reason why Google can give you so many cool apps for free. So quit whining about your privacy, because I'm sure Google has far more interesting people to spy on in the 500+ million users that they get!

If you've studied machine learning and natural language processing in computer science, you would know these things. Google has giant computer clusters scanning all their data and logs, and then they use software to make sense of all of that data to develop algorithms to make their apps and services and smarter. This is how Google translate, search, image recognition, maps, Google autosuggest for youtube (other sites) etc. work and is improving everyday. The more data that Google collects, the smarter your apps will become. Read up on Sebastian Thrun, who's the guy in charge of Google's self driving cars and AI projects. How do you think Google can make such a car? You need tons of all sorts of data such as mapping, geolocation, traffic, terrain, and geographical data. The websites of the past were dumb and could never make use of any data they could have gather. Today's web apps are only free because they can receive user data to improve their service using analyitics or other methods. Remember how many people started crying when Google started charging subscriptions for their Google Apps. You can say that you will go to another service, but i'm certain that website will eventually start mining your data to survive. Without you paying subscriptions, a website has to run some way or the other!

Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and ever single website mines your data. There's nothing wrong unless they start selling your identities at the local supermarket for a dollar a dozen users, which they don't. Your data is anonymously stored with everyone else's and then a sample of it is analyzed to find behavioral patterns, social aspects, and other characteristics to help smarten their software and build better ad targeting tools so they can monetize their website. Remember you are using their website for free and they owe you nothing in return!

This xkcd makes a good point about people's entitlement and sheepish mentality about the end of the world if these websites are analyzing the user data.
http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/instagram.png

Anyways, back on to the original topic about google docs. There's a lot of features many people take for granted in office and besides, Microsoft already has a free office version with ads called office starter version and they also have the office 360 web apps. So they're well covered. Google did promise to bring docs offline and so we'll see. Even though the google docs is enough for most normal/casual office users, microsoft's office can be both free and also have all of the advanced features. Would you use another software to edit .psds or would you use the orignal software to get the best compatiibilty. Even though the .docx etc. formats are an open standard, there are still compatibility issues with many softwares and office is still the best at handling them!

szo said,
They can monetize it to make better ad targetting systems but then again, this is the best free email service.

Outlook is the best free email service fyi

Try Outlook.com, online Office Doc viewing/editing as well. I prefer Outlook.com's People hub, and SkyDrive to other offerings.

Thanks. It makes me feel much better to know that I'm just a cell in a Google spreadsheet. The problem is I'm a cell in a Google spreadsheet which we all know is poorly written software. Personally, I'd prefer to be a cell in A Microsoft spreadsheet since they use Excel. I'd hate to go through life not being formatted correctly and being incompatible with the software grown-ups use.

Major Plonquer said,
The problem is I'm a cell in a Google spreadsheet which we all know is poorly written software.

I didn't know that. Have you got a source for that information that speaks for everyone?

I use Google Docs primarily. It is simple to use, simple to share and co-edit and simple to always have the latest version available without USB sticks.
There are a few ways that Google need to go to get full acceptance. They need integration with the desktop, to automatically upload and open in Google Docs when you double-click a file. They need better integration in Gmail to make sure all attachments can be saved direct to Google Drive. They need to fix the Google Drive file management a bit to make sure that you can create folders from the move/copy dialog and encourage a way to keep it organised. They need a way to fully sync the files back to the desktop (not just links to the online version as Google Drive does currently).

Simon- said,
[Google Docs] is simple to use, simple to share and co-edit and simple to always have the latest version available without USB sticks.

And so is MS Office. You can have multiple users on different computers editing Office docs simultaneously and it works just as well. It synchronizes the changes for you so everyone on your teams can always have the latest version.

So if Google Docs works for you, great. But those features you mention aren't exclusive to Google Docs.

rfirth said,

And so is MS Office. You can have multiple users on different computers editing Office docs simultaneously and it works just as well. It synchronizes the changes for you so everyone on your teams can always have the latest version.

So if Google Docs works for you, great. But those features you mention aren't exclusive to Google Docs.


Yes but with all those features, it is a lot cheaper than MS Office/Office 365/Skydrive(Skydrive requires an MS Office license even if not enforced)

Simon- said,

Yes but with all those features, it is a lot cheaper than MS Office/Office 365/Skydrive(Skydrive requires an MS Office license even if not enforced)
Uhm Office Web Apps is available for free, what's the diffrence except that Office Web Apps has more functionality and works good in every browser (Docs does only works normal in Chrome, in both Firefox and IE, it crashes) and is compatible with Microsoft Office.

Studio384 said,
Uhm Office Web Apps is available for free, what's the diffrence except that Office Web Apps has more functionality and works good in every browser (Docs does only works normal in Chrome, in both Firefox and IE, it crashes) and is compatible with Microsoft Office.

Look at support and licensing, not the free. It is cheaper. I use Google Apps in each browser because I use three separate accounts, and I don't see crashes. They just released a compatibility update, but I do agree it could be better.

farmeunit said,

Look at support and licensing, not the free. It is cheaper. I use Google Apps in each browser because I use three separate accounts, and I don't see crashes. They just released a compatibility update, but I do agree it could be better.

Again, No - as the previous post tried to explain.

There is NO licensing or need for use of Web based versions of Office, just as there is no licensing or fees for the integration with SkyDrive as well as the localized integration that allows users to seamlessly work from their desktop using the Web Versions of Office.

If you are stating that Google offers 'FREE' technical support or licensing, you are gravely being misled. Even if you look at the terms of licensing usage, Google Docs is far more restrictive and prohibits many 'business' use of the service that Microsoft Office Web version DO NOT.

There are also the massive 'security/privacy' differences, that PREVENT Google Docs from being used by many users bound by company policies. Even using GDocs on a personal level, but in forming company 'letters' or create company documents on the service is a violation of most user policies.

As long as Google leaves GDocs OPEN to data mining, and leaves the ability for ALL users data to be queried by Google employees, companies DO NOT allow this type of security breach, especially when dealing with sensitive information.

If you write a confidential letter about downsizing your Corporation and store it on Google Docs, and a Google Employee or Google itself runs into this information, they could dump stock and NEVER have to admit to seeing this information, nor be bound to insider trading laws.


People that 'like' GDocs HAVE NO IDEA what they are agreeing to and how their participation in providing free information to Google actually entails and hot is results in profits for Google. There was a time that even 'physical mailing lists' were considered to be valuable information, yet with 'free' Google services people are willing to give them far more than just where they live for the Privilege of getting to use 'free' software.

Microsoft doesn't use your data and Office Web is free, which is were the battle lines will be drawn, as corporations cannot afford to risk data exposure on Google services.

It is, in fact, one HUNDRED percent cross-compatible with Office and, unlike Google Docs, even works in Waterfox or Comodo Dragon (which is why I can store Word documents on SkyDrive and edit them even while running Windows Server 2012, which has Waterfox as my default and Comodo Dragon as the backup, while IE is locked down).

I can't see this happening at all. The fact that GDocs is online and hosted by Google is one of it's biggest flaws. Google can "update" it at anytime, and that throws a huge curveball to anyone using it if they suddenly find a feature removed, changed, etc.

Office has the advantage here - updates and changes happen when the IT department makes them. That gives plenty of opportunity for warning, training, documentation updates, etc. If a company writes documentation for their end users on how to perform a process in Excel 2010, that documentation is still gonna be usable and valid five years from now if they're still running Excel 2010. However, if they write the same documentation for Google Spreadsheet, and then Google decides to update the interface for that app, then the documentation is not only invalid, but the IT department has to scramble to re-write it and re-train users to adjust to the changes.

Joey H said,
I can't see this happening at all. The fact that GDocs is online and hosted by Google is one of it's biggest flaws. Google can "update" it at anytime, and that throws a huge curveball to anyone using it if they suddenly find a feature removed, changed, etc.
They can also remove Docs completly...

and let's not forget, google apps in china are not available, that is way more than 10% global market, probably it's 30% if not even more. and google just won't get it.

But, but, but, Google told us "China isn't a big market".....

Yes, I work in China and Google services are not available here. End of story, really. It just shows you can't trust Google.

Meanwhile Google's explanation that it was the big bad Chinese government who made them do it is just laughable. Australia now has the same national firewall system (courtesy of Cisco) as China. Does this mean Google will run away from Australia next? Or did Google really crap on their Chinese customers because the competition was too hot?

Google Docs is nice and all, but last time I checked, MS Office's is 100% available even when you're not connected to the Internet.

There's still a lot of people who sometimes need to work without an Internet connection (while on a plane, an high speed train or any area with no network connection) and many businesses that wouldn't be happy to hand over all their assets to a third party server (which is what you do as soon as you upload a file to Google Docs).

The only thing I use Google Office apps is to view it without downloading it. I can't see myself using Google Office apps because it feels like I'm back in 2001.

You mean with Gmail? Use outlook.com, it will automatically open docs and stuff on Skydrive with MS's online Office suite (and actually display them correctly). Then it will save any changes for you and it'll be there in your Skydrive, with your 7GB of free space. You can create document types as well in Skydrive, not just open them. And with sending large document files (or any file type), the attachments to emails will automatically use Skydrive if it's too large for outlook.com.

Even online MS have a superior free solution. Google don't stand a chance.

Besides, Google needs an offline competitor to Microsoft's Trojan Horse - the one gotta-have Office application (and it's NOT Word or Excel). Microsoft's Trojan Horse is Outlook. Outlook is not just an e-mail client, but an e-mail client compatible with most e-mail services on the planet - including GMail. Outlook is also standard with most SKUs of Office since 2000. Nobody has an e-mail application that can withstand a full-on comparison to Outlook - therefore, who can really take on Microsoft Office?

I like my productivity software offline, online is only supplementing.

For light business needs I could see this fly on my end in some fashion.

Glassed Silver:mac

Glassed Silver said,
I like my productivity software offline, online is only supplementing.

For light business needs I could see this fly on my end in some fashion.

Glassed Silver:mac

Exactly and I don't trust Google these days. One fine morning Eric Schmidt will wake up and decide to discontinue Google Docs because Ballmer convinced him to do so in a dream.

Given Google's recent track record of discontinuing apps at random.

sanke1 said,

Exactly and I don't trust Google these days. One fine morning Eric Schmidt will wake up and decide to discontinue Google Docs because Ballmer convinced him to do so in a dream.

Given Google's recent track record of discontinuing apps at random.


However their online Docs is a flagship like Gmail and Search. They require this to battle Microsoft, their Search is diminishing (and results are getting more and more awful, altho for my country, Bing is still allot worse ). So is their Gmail. The only thing growing is their Docs. They are sure as hell not going to cancel it