Microsoft targets Google Docs

Microsoft made their Office 365 cloud-based document service publicly available on April 18th. What might not have been expected is that Microsoft is already targeting Google Docs, having created a mini-site specifically drawing comparisons between the two services. Interestingly, the service provides an example document allowing users to see precisely what Office 365 does differently. The key points are summarised below:

  • Headers. The Office 365 rendition of the header shows it using a specified font with 'small capitals', and is centered in the middle of the page. Using Google Docs, it is visible that the header is located at another position and uses a different font.
  • Watermarking. Using Office 365, a watermark reading 'Confidential' can be seen on the page. With the Google Docs version of the document, no watermark can be seen on the page.
  • Smart Art. When using Office 365, 'smart art' can be seen on the page, illustrating the key points of the document. With Google Docs, the art is simply removed from the page without a trace.
  • Chart. A chart is removed from the Google Docs version of the document, though it remains present in the Office 365 version.
  • Footer. The footer at the bottom of the document is visible using Office 365, though it is not present when using Google Docs.

It is possible that Microsoft have intentionally altered the document between the two cloud-based services, and it is highly probable that this will be a view taken by some users of Google's Docs service. On Microsoft's Sharepoint site for the service, there are links to view the document using both services, so it may be interesting for some users of both services to compare and decide upon their preferred cloud-based office suite.

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24 Comments

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Google Docs is superior if you prefer to use ODF, a truly open standard. Along with LibreOffice, it really satisfies the need for both cloud/collaboration and full feature sets respectively.

I thought office 365 was targeted at the enterprise? Unlike google docs ..? the office web apps (free for everyone, i guess) are what compete against google docs

Shadrack said,
Microsoft has the edge in the productivity office software market.

So why are they losing marketshare to Google Docs and LibreOffice/OOo?

Flawed said,
So why are they losing marketshare to Google Docs and LibreOffice/OOo?

Only because of the few government organizations who have so little money to spend on a great office suite, who hesitantly use LibreOffice and OpenOffice. You honestly thought that people actually VOLUNTARILY use that stuff? Haha!

Flawed said,

So why are they losing marketshare to Google Docs and LibreOffice/OOo?

Where are they loosing the marketshare? If you use Google Docs I bet you still have a copy of Office. And OOO? Please. I work for a major public University, and you wont see people using either one of those.

Google Apps isn't free. Google Docs is free. And the same is on Microsoft's side: the Web Apps are free but Office 365 will not.

Its going to be a relatively easy target. My uni has deployed Google Apps and "it's the biggest mistake we've ever made".

Its buggy as hell, more of an effort to collaborate using the tools and just an overwhelmingly poor experience overall.

I'd rather pay and get quality then have a turd sandwich given to me for free.

I know what you mean, I tried MS Office 2010 the other day and it was so slow, incompatible with ODF, and failed to render Microsoft's own proprietary formats correctly. Now that's what I call buggy as hell. so I can sympathise with your plight.

I'd rather get a free, open source office suite any day than a turd sandwich which I had to pay for.

Flawed said,
I'd rather get a free, open source office suite any day than a turd sandwich which I had to pay for.

I understand the incompatibilities with ODF, and I do not care. Seriously NO ONE, not even the Linux community, gives a hoot for ODF. It's just another buggy format that wants to gain traction among users.

And wait, "buggy as hell?" What type of crack are you smoking? Seriously, Microsoft Office 2010 is NOT buggy at ALL. I've been using it for a long time now, and I've also used OpenOffice on my Ubuntu computer, too. Microsoft Office has visual styles, textual styles, formatting features, and stability. OpenOffice has none of this, plus it crashes when loading really big documents.

Seriously, your reality distortion is making you even less considerable and more foolish among other logical Neowin members on here. No one even gives a care for what you say anymore...

"It is possible that Microsoft have intentionally altered the document between the two cloud-based services, and it is highly probable that this will be a view taken by some users of Google's Docs service."

Neowin, what the ****?

KavazovAngel said,
"It is possible that Microsoft have intentionally altered the document between the two cloud-based services, and it is highly probable that this will be a view taken by some users of Google's Docs service."

Neowin, what the ****?


My thoughts also, why would they do that knowing people could figure it out without to much of a problem.

Isn't Office 365 going to have a monthly fee? Hard to beat free...

EDIT: I really don't like features that only work in Office 365. The point is for users to be able to edit documents anywhere without losing anything. I'd rather stick with Google Docs where I know everything will work with Office (home) and Docs...

Elessar said,
Isn't Office 365 going to have a monthly fee? Hard to beat free...

Unless you're a corporation or small business, in which case it's hard to beat compatible...

Elessar said,
Isn't Office 365 going to have a monthly fee? Hard to beat free...

EDIT: I really don't like features that only work in Office 365. The point is for users to be able to edit documents anywhere without losing anything. I'd rather stick with Google Docs where I know everything will work with Office (home) and Docs...

Um, Google Apps isn't free...

Frylock86 said,

Um, Google Apps isn't free...

Google Docs is though...and considering that was the "target" in the title, that is what I based my opinion on.

Frylock86 said,

Um, Google Apps isn't free...


There is a free Google Apps..I've been using it to host my mail and documents for 2 years now. There are paid versions but I digress.

billyea said,

Unless you're a corporation or small business, in which case it's hard to beat compatible...

stop making sense

Elessar said,

Google Docs is though...and considering that was the "target" in the title, that is what I based my opinion on.


There is a free version comparable to Google Docs available on Skydrive.

Elessar said,
Isn't Office 365 going to have a monthly fee? Hard to beat free...

EDIT: I really don't like features that only work in Office 365. The point is for users to be able to edit documents anywhere without losing anything. I'd rather stick with Google Docs where I know everything will work with Office (home) and Docs...

You can edit documents anywhere using the FREE Office Web Apps. http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/web-apps
They are highly compatible with Office document formats which nearly everyone uses . Much better than Google docs IMHO.
Also The Ribboned interface is pretty slick.

billyea said,

Unless you're a corporation or small business, in which case it's hard to beat compatible...

Unless of course your business uses ODF, in which case, it's easy to beat incompatible.

Xenosion said,

There is a free Google Apps..I've been using it to host my mail and documents for 2 years now. There are paid versions but I digress.

Yep. Max 50 users and it tends to get new stuff too. Recently they finally updated the UI of gmail to sync with gmail.com addresses. I've been using it for about 3 or 4 years now. Several domains covered under an alias setup.

Flawed said,
Unless of course your business uses ODF, in which case, it's easy to beat incompatible.

Unless of course your business actually wants good software, and not bloated crapware. Then its very, very, hard to beat Office 365. (But super easy to beat ODF. Shazam!)