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Ask Slashdot: Can Quickoffice On Chromebooks Topple Microsoft's Office?

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the yes-no-maybe dept.

Google 242

Nerval's Lobster writes "As we discussed yesterday, Google is bringing a Quickoffice viewer to its new high-end Chromebook Pixel, with full editing ability expected within three months. According to TechCrunch, Quickoffice-on-Chromebooks comes courtesy of Native Client. If Chromebooks prove a hit (and Google ports Quickoffice onto devices other than the ultra-high-priced Chromebook Pixel), could that mean the beginning of the end of Microsoft Office's market dominance of the productivity software space? While Microsoft has been pushing into the cloud with software like Office 365, that's also Google's home territory. But can Google actually disrupt the game?"

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242 comments

So, you think the Pixel is... (3, Insightful)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029489)

an enterprise-class laptop? Is that what you're sayin??

Uhmmm... no.

Re:So, you think the Pixel is... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029611)

I work in an Fortune 50 company. A Chromebook would be far fitter for the purpose for almost all the roles that Windows computers are used in now.

Anything that reduces the complexity and mess caused by Microsoft's idiotic document interchange and formatting incompatibilities would make the change well worthwhile.

Re:So, you think the Pixel is... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029825)

Your Fortune 50 company trusts all your documents, data and mail to the Google cloud? Tell me more.

Re:So, you think the Pixel is... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029993)

My company has its own intranet, with online document storage and email that works fine with any web browser.

Local storage on laptops etc is already being deprecated.

Re:So, you think the Pixel is... (1, Funny)

jhoegl (638955) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030609)

Google?

The best laptop on the market today (-1, Flamebait)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029643)

Unless your desperate in protecting the Macbook Air profits nobody is going to argue that the Pixel is not the greatest Laptop on the market today.

The only real questions are about Chrome, and all things being even right now. Chrome has the edge over Windows [at least in this crazy transitional period], and OS X which still is not there yet. Although what a great Ubuntu Machine

Although judging by Apples 25% drop in sales we don't want polished high end hardware...we want good value, affordable work machines.

The real question is though as always does Microsoft Office matter, as someone who has lived without it using then the answer is yes, and I think the lower priced chromebooks running ARM will will enterprise.

Re:The best laptop on the market today (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029669)

Best laptop on the market is exceedingly subjective. Sub 5 hour battery price is unacceptable to a lot of people. Inability to run Windows is unacceptable to some others.

Re:The best laptop on the market today (5, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029801)

I'll argue that it is not. Here are a few ways in which someone might consider another option better:
-It's heavier than some
-It cannot detach screen and/or flip in such a way to get keyboard out of the way
-The keyboard doesn't have a nipple mouse
-It can't run Windows
-It doesn't have as much ram as others
-It doesn't have as fast a processor as others
-It doesn't have as much battery life as others.
-It doesn't support pen input

The truth is, there is no such thing as 'the' greatest laptop on the market today. Everyone has different preferences and priorities.

The best laptop on the market today (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030073)

The truth is, there is no such thing as 'the' greatest laptop on the market today. Everyone has different preferences and priorities.

No, because its nothing to do with preferences(sic) and priorities(sic). Its because they took a 2560 x 1700 pixels touchscreen and threw quality [and lets be honest beautiful hardware] around it.

Re:The best laptop on the market today (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030179)

The problem with that 2560x1700 screen isnt the number of pixels or the quality of the hardware surrounding it...

The problem is how cloudy it is.

Re:The best laptop on the market today (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030273)

Maybe the capacitive touch layer is doing that.

Re:The best laptop on the market today (3, Insightful)

mrclisdue (1321513) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030341)

No, because its nothing to do with preferences(sic) and priorities(sic).

You' ve indicated by the use of "(sic)" that those two words are either misspelled or improperly-used.

Would you care to elaborate, as both words are spelled properly...?

Re:The best laptop on the market today (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030149)

The real question is though as always does Microsoft Office matter, as someone who has lived without it using then the answer is yes, and I think the lower priced chromebooks running ARM will will enterprise.

So you agree that Office matters, BUT you think Chrombooks will win out anyway? Is that what you said?

I'm not so sure.

If people are going to embrace cloud storage, Google is going to have to offer Zero Knowledge Encrypted storage, because big business, or sensitive business (medical, legal, etc) is not going to be able to use any hardware solution where they place their documents in another companies hands who in turn could hand them over to anyone with a National Security Letter.

You need a local storage capability or a secure storage where the cloud operator can't decrypt your files. (aka like SpiderOak).

Re:The best laptop on the market today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030583)

The real question is though as always does Microsoft Office matter, as someone who has lived without it using then the answer is yes, and I think the lower priced chromebooks running ARM will will enterprise.

Well, the lower priced Chromebooks are not called the Google Pixel. The Pixel is a nice piece of hardware, but for the money I'd rather have the ability to do everything that I need to do rather than have an HD touch screen.

ChromeOS is not a good fit for everyone, and certainly doesn't meet all of my needs. Hell, the FTP problems found in the offerings in the "chrome store" (or whatever it's called) make it unreliable. Reliable SSH connections? Not really. Solid RDP connections? Nope ... and don't offer up those HTML5 server apps that run on a remote machine - their quality isn't ready for prime time.

I have a Chromebook, and was hoping to use it for when I travel. It's light and quick. I can get my email. I can code (though the environments aren't really great quality yet), though I have plenty problems relying on the FTP. SFTP? Not dependable. It turns out to be a pretty good consumption device (like my iPad, but easier to type on). It's not ready for production.

Re:So, you think the Pixel is... (3, Interesting)

DrEldarion (114072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030397)

Why not?

At my job, almost every tool I use is an internal webapp, and I SSH / NX into my workstation from my laptop to get a command line, run Eclipse, etc. I could replace my Thinkpad with a Pixel and still run at 100% capacity. (it's a bit overkill for my needs, but the Thinkpad wasn't exactly cheap, either)

Many, many, many people have computers at work only for use with internal webapps and document editing (which can be done through webapps). Why wouldn't the Pixel work for them?

Re:So, you think the Pixel is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030549)

For what's under the hood, your ThinkPad is cheaper than a Pixel.

WTF? (5, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030551)

Why are we discussing whether a office viewer program which does not even having editing capabilities right now and is sure not to get them for the next few months, will beat Office? Is this a joke or what?

QuickOffice is a proprietary closed source application running on one of the most locked down computers out there, the Chromebook with Secure Boot, where you can't even install Open/LibreOffice like you can do on any Windows PC and is heavily tied to the cloud and is crippled with low storage to encourage you to put valuable files on Google servers.

Why is Slashdot cheering this again?

no (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029515)

Insert some stupid headline "law" here.

And then insert some stupid comment about how LibreOffice is awesome (which it is, but in that case, why can't it disrupt MS Office?).

Insert a comment about how Google is evil (which they are), and how anything that runs in the browser can't be as good as something something mumble something.

And also, a quick jab about how MS sucks.

Re:no (2)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029731)

... and follow up with a "I'd drop MS like a shot if [alternative] had a OneNote clone".

... And no, $Xware isn't good enough.

Re:no (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030209)

And then insert some stupid comment about how LibreOffice is awesome (which it is, but in that case, why can't it disrupt MS Office?).

LibreOffice IS awesome, but there are differences between it & MSOffice that get in the way. The big holdover is medium to large businesses and in some cases schools.

1. Anyone who has an MSOffice site license or gets laptops from a large corporate account (with MSO preinstalled) will stick with MSOffice until there is a major change in the computing environment because they have a solution that works and they've already committed to the financial cost.
2. Native file type support - when exchanging documents with other organizations, LO/OOO has a history of screwing up MSWord formatting & pagination pretty badly. So if you need to edit a native MSWord doc & distribute it to MSWord users, LO will give you headaches.
3. LO is fairly new, and less known than it's predecessor OOO, so it hasn't had much time to penetrate.
4. Excel has (until recently) scaled better than Calc, and has extensive & weird macro support. There are lots of shops that have forms that are filled with Excel macros and a few who make really large tables, for whom a shift to Calc would be burdensome.

I don't really know QuickOffice, but I have to suspect that it will suffer from all of the same problems.

Excel vs Spreadsheet (0)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029517)

Office 365 lets me use Excel to setup my spreadsheets and then enter in data via a web service.

Google Docs always require spreadsheet.

So... no. Chromebook isn't enough. Spreadsheets in the problem, not the hardware. I already have a laptop perfectly capable of running Chrome. And I chose to use excel.

Re:Excel vs Spreadsheet (2)

norbert (25338) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029547)

You can definitely enter data into a docs spreadsheet vi a web form: http://support.google.com/drive/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=87809
Or do you mean something else?

Re:Excel vs Spreadsheet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029595)

I don't know what data you're entering, but there are Google Forms, which enters the data onto a Google spreadsheet.

Obviously, that may not work for you but it's not necessarily as simple as the choice of Excel for data entry

Re:Excel vs Spreadsheet (4, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029597)

Most of what I've seen Excel get used for in an office setting would be better served by a database....

But the point you make is fair enough, and the point I was going to make: people aren't going to invest in a new platform without a major impetus to go looking for a new platform. If the one they have works for what they're doing, then it's generally less hassle to keep buying it. This is why some banks are still running DOS....

Until Microsoft stops selling corporate licenses and forces everybody to Office Online where they can charge a monthly tithe, business simply isn't going to look elsewhere. It's coming... They're already trying to force home users to an online version... but I doubt Microsoft is stupid enough to think that business will happily accept switching to a platform where they don't have control over the files themselves, and home users will continue to buy the monthly tithe version of MS Office, because that's what they have at work. Very savvy, really....

Re:Excel vs Spreadsheet (3, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029721)

The reason the new Chromebook Pixel has been panned by reviewers is simple:

On a normal laptop: You can run chrome and every other application.
On the Pixel: You can only run chrome.

So why would I pay the same price for a device which limits what I can run? Windows 8 tablets have tradeoffs from their ARM/Windows RT compatriots. They have worse battery life, they weigh more and they cost more. The Pixel is like paying $1200 for a windows tablet that only ran IE.

Re:Excel vs Spreadsheet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029941)

The reason the new Chromebook Pixel has been panned by reviewers is simple:

On a normal laptop: You can run chrome and every other application.
On the Pixel: You can only run chrome.

So why would I pay the same price for a device which limits what I can run?

Malware. ChromeOS has a solid security design: http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/chromiumos-design-docs/security-overview

Windows can't do anything close without breaking backward compatibility.

You seem to believe that there are a significant number of computer users who want to do as much as possible with their computers. You are wrong. Most users want the minimum device required to read facebook, send email, and read a web page. The Pixel is not a threat to windows. The $200 chromebooks are.

Re:Excel vs Spreadsheet (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030095)

The Pixel is not a threat to windows. The $200 chromebooks are.

Where can you get a Chromebook for $200 ? Are they already on firesale?

Re:Excel vs Spreadsheet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030159)

Acer C7 Chromebook for $199. Been that way for awhile. You can also get a Samsung Chromebook for $250.

Re:Excel vs Spreadsheet (1)

SadButTrue (848439) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030291)

the effort it takes to be so willfully ignorant....

https://play.google.com/store/devices/details?id=chromebook_acer_c710 [google.com]

Re:Excel vs Spreadsheet (1)

mystikkman (1487801) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030403)

Is that the same model that sold only 5000 in a few months, worse than the Kin?

http://www.zdnet.com/chromebook-looks-like-another-googleflop-4010024772/ [zdnet.com]

Re:Excel vs Spreadsheet (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030527)

Probably not given that article is from 2011 and Chromebooks have taken off since then.

Don't ask me why they've taken off, I have no idea, I don't see the attraction either, but taken off they have. A Chromebook is frequently the best selling computer on Amazon these days.

Re:Excel vs Spreadsheet (1)

mystikkman (1487801) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030625)

Amazon bestsellers don't mean very much in terms to total units.

The Nokia Lumia has been on top of bestseller phones for long periods of time.

http://wmpoweruser.com/nokia-lumia-920-swarms-amazons-best-seller-charts/ [wmpoweruser.com]

http://wmpoweruser.com/nokia-lumia-920-still-got-ittopping-att-best-sellers-on-amazon/ [wmpoweruser.com]

http://wmpoweruser.com/now-even-amazon-is-complaining-of-tremendous-demand-for-the-nokia-lumia-920/ [wmpoweruser.com]

Re:Excel vs Spreadsheet (4, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029763)

Most of what I've seen Excel get used for in an office setting would be better served by a database....

That's true. But the average user isn't technically savvy enough to configure a database (and even if they could, IT policy might prohibit it), while that same user can come up with something quick-and-dirty in Excel. The ease of use makes up for the limited feature set and sub-par performance.

In theory, these Excel "apps" should be replaced with real databases by IT once they become an important part of business logic, but in practice, that seldom happens, and the original hacked-together solution continues to be used for many years.

Google Docs and web service data acquisition (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029625)

Office 365 lets me use Excel to setup my spreadsheets and then enter in data via a web service.

Google Docs always require spreadsheet.

No, you can setup a spreadsheet and use Google Apps Script to build a web app (which can also be accessed as a web service) to accept data. And you could do that for quite some time before Office 365 was even available.

it doesn't have to (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029521)

MS Office is too featured and too expensive for most users. Most home and small business users will be just fine with quickoffice or one of the free ones.

MS screwed up by not having a cheap version. they used to have Works but never pushed it to the point of people knowing about it. only idiots spent $200 for MS Office at home

Who spends that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029619)

I'm running a legal 3 computer current version I doubt I paid $100 in total for. No special "show ID" to prove you are a student or any such. You watch for sales. My prior home version was probably 9 years old. ~$10 a year is noise compared to many costs like printer cartridges.

Besides, big corporations have standardized and there is sure to be some document/spreadsheet that uses some obscure feature of the real Office that prevents easy migration.

I'm no fan of the current Office toolbars but I can't remember the last time I had a problem with something not working so the impetus to change just isn't there.

IMHO, YMMV

People who arn't decitful (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029877)

No special "show ID" to prove you are a student or any such.

So essentially you lied. Most people are not comfortable with that, I think you need to look inward, rather than tar others with the same brush :)

Re:People who arn't decitful (2)

xigxag (167441) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030487)

No, MS Home and Student has been on sale for $99 in the not-so-distant past. You were not required to be a student to use the software; there was no lie required; and what the GP said was totally accurate.

Re:People who arn't decitful (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030611)

What sort of an idiot thinks that lying to Microsoft is in any way reprehensible? Look inward? Tar with the same brush? Grow up.

Microsoft's not a person, despite what the US law might say. It's an inhuman corporation, and one which like every other corporation makes a regular practice of deceiving people.

Re:it doesn't have to (0)

hairyfish (1653411) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029627)

only idiots spent $200 for MS Office at home

Yeah especially when it only costs $140.

Not even close; Office is stupidly overpriced. (3, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029861)

only idiots spent $200 for MS Office at home

Yeah especially when it only costs $140.

I would have to pay For the crippled home and business 2013 its £220($333) and for office professional its £390 ($590)

http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoft-office-professional-2013-FX102918381.aspx?WT.intid1=ODC_ENGB_FX010064710_XT103927664&WT.intid2=ODC_ENGB_FX010064710_XT103927685 [microsoft.com]

Re:it doesn't have to (1)

DavidD_CA (750156) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029771)

Except that students often get the full version (including Access and developer tools) for $49.

Home users get it for $149, for up to three PCs.

And anyone who uses Office at work with site licenses often gets to take it home for $20 or $0.

And if you want to restrict yourself to just the web client, Office on SkyDrive is free.

Re:it doesn't have to (4, Informative)

Cwix (1671282) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029841)

My copy was ten dollars for 2013. My 2010 copy cost me ten dollars. Both were the "Professional" versions. Both copies were purchased through Microsoft's home use program. From what I understand if you have a work email from a company that has a Software Assurance agreement with Microsoft you're eligible. You can even just enter your email in to see if you are eligible. If it had been anything more, I wouldn't have been interested.

http://www.microsofthup.com/hupus/home.aspx?culture=en-US&page=lookup [microsofthup.com]

Hell No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029543)

Sorry... I say a title with a question mark..

No. (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029551)

Can Quickoffice topple MS Office?

No.

The "consumer market" is not what drives Office sales and use, it's business sales and use.

For various reasons, larger businesses - the major buyer of MS Office license - will not be adopting Quickoffice any time soon if at all.

Re:No. (3, Interesting)

iserlohn (49556) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029697)

Most business use Office only because they don't know any better. Most people would think the worst is Excel, but from my experience, it is Word.

You have companies producing very important documents such as highly complex tender responses in Word with tens of thousands of sections and a few dozen contributors. The workflow is terrible when you have more than 1 person working on a big document and because how Word forces you to work, you can have the same level of precision as using a proper markup language - like LaTeX.

Having a real-time collaborative environment makes it a bit better, but you will never get the type of power in the current Word document format as you would get in something like LaTeX.

If these professional Word user actually a tiny fraction of their time fighting with Word to learn a proper system such as LaTeX, productivity would sky rocket.

Re:No. (3, Informative)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029821)

Most business use Office only because they don't know any better.

Most businesses use MS Office because:

  1. It's what all of their staff is already trained on.
  2. They need to be able to reliably and accurately interchange documents with other people and organizations who use MS Office. Close isn't good enough.
  3. In many cases, they have business logic coded into some arcane VBA applet. The only competitor I know of that has even started to do anything with VBA is Open/LibreOffice, and even then it is very sketchy and far from enterprise-ready.
  4. MS Office is easy to push out and manage through Group Policy. This is the same reason why IE still rules in the enterprise, even when the IE6 dependencies have finally been gotten rid of.

Re:No. (3, Insightful)

iserlohn (49556) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030071)

So, you mean in other words, the don't know any better?

Re:No. (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030177)

They need to be able to reliably and accurately interchange documents with other people and organizations who use MS Office. Close isn't good enough.

Too bad MS Office can't do that.

Re:No. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029907)

Only on /. would you have a person propose replacing word processors with LaTeX with a straight face ... and not get laughed out of the room.

Re:No. (1)

iserlohn (49556) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030043)

Seriously, MS Word is the Ford Focus of "productivity software". Now imagine businesses, instead of using a proper Caterpillar truck, hauls earth from the strip mine with convertible Ford Focuses instead. That's basically what's happening in offices across the globe right now.

Re:No. (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030547)

Most business use Office only because they don't know any better.

Yep, and there's pretty much no way to educate them otherwise. Managers and administrators don't get their positions by being adventurous, they get there by being consistent and risk-adverse.

And LaTeX??? Are you serious? I think you enormously overestimate the intelligence of the average office drone. Monumentally so.

Re:No. (1)

swillden (191260) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029701)

The "consumer market" is not what drives Office sales and use, it's business sales and use.

True. On the other hand... Chromebooks are more attractive to businesses than they are to consumers, because there's no administration to be done. Office is a big barrier to Chromebook adoption, but if Google can convince businesses that Quickoffice and Docs can accomplish the same purpose, that barrier falls.

I'm going to stop short of saying it'll happen, but it's far from inconceivable.

Re:No. (1)

rsborg (111459) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029781)

The "consumer market" is not what drives Office sales and use, it's business sales and use.

True. On the other hand... Chromebooks are more attractive to businesses than they are to consumers, because there's no administration to be done. Office is a big barrier to Chromebook adoption, but if Google can convince businesses that Quickoffice and Docs can accomplish the same purpose, that barrier falls.

I'm going to stop short of saying it'll happen, but it's far from inconceivable.

Of course it's not inconceivable, but is it worth a front-page ./ post title? I'd say it isn't. You might as well ask if Apple plans on going into the search business. I'd say they're equally likely (in that both companies would like for these to be viable, but both assertions are very very bad bets).

Apple were wrong (3, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029815)

The "consumer market" is not what drives Office sales and use, it's business sales and use.

Steve Balmer said the the iPhone would fail because enterprise wanted a phone with a keyboard [its quite famous]. I don't know if its true about enterprise adopting quickoffice, but the days of enterprise influencing your purchasing habits have long gone.

Re:Apple were wrong (1)

theVarangian (1948970) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030495)

The "consumer market" is not what drives Office sales and use, it's business sales and use.

Steve Balmer said the the iPhone would fail because enterprise wanted a phone with a keyboard [its quite famous]. I don't know if its true about enterprise adopting quickoffice, but the days of enterprise influencing your purchasing habits have long gone.

Like the GP pointed out, consumers don't buy MS Office (they pirate MS Office), it's companies and organisations who pay for MS Office and who finance its development. If Open/Libre office with a price tag of $0.00 running on Windows can't topple MS Office what hope does Quick Office on Chrome OS have?

Libre Office QuickOffice (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029561)

LibreOffice is much better than QuickOffice - and it seems to have had minimal impact on the juggernaut that is MS Office.

It's a bit like Google and other search engines. In theory one could come along and topple Google. In reality, the reason that Google (and MS Office) are in the position they are in is that "good enough" isn't enough to disrupt the market leader.

Think about what it would take to get you to shift from Google to Bing. Bing wouldn't need to be as good as Google, it would need to be obviously *better*.

QuickOffice doesn't have to be better than LibreOffice to disrupt MS Office - it's got to be quite obviously better.

Re:Libre Office QuickOffice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029725)

It is better now, version 4.0 has made it much faster and it handles larger files better than MS-office, two very important aspects not easily drowned out by useless features no ones ever heard of or used. I think what stops its adoption is just the hiring of people who have knowledge on the subject, the follow the leader aspect of enterprise has made it impossible as every enterprise solution becomes homogenized.

Marketing (4, Insightful)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029791)

QuickOffice doesn't have to be better than LibreOffice to disrupt MS Office - it's got to be quite obviously better.

Actually Libreoffice is better than Microsoft Office in many ways, Google has Branding [and Money, influence and power], something Libreoffice unfortunately lost [Much to the disgrace of the Apache foundation]. Lets be honest Microsfoft Office in not very good, if it hadn't been for an incredibly entrenched monopoly [or open file formats] it would have been replaced years ago.

It only takes a generation (3, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030557)

It only takes a generation for a monopoly like that to disappear. I see that with traditional telephones vs. Skype. My son (8) and his circle of friends (6-16) all have smart phones. You would think that they would call each other a lot. They don't. They use Skype almost exclusively. They will sit on their cell phones talking to each other via Skype on the phones. For these kids, the "phone" part of the smart phones is for calling your parents and ordering pizza. For talking to peers you use Skype. My first instinct was to wince at their choice, but I very quickly realized that the problem was mine and that I was falling prey to being used to the traditional phone systems network effect. For these kids, the network effect is pushing Skype over the traditional 10 digit phone system. When new kids join the group, they are quickly pushed to install Skype if they want to be involved in the groups activities.

Will these kids switch to the traditional phone system when they hit 18? Maybe, but I wouldn't count on it. I have a feeling that they will use the 10 digit phones for what they have to, but that those of us that predate Skype and it's ilk will be dragged into the much better future of post Bell communication.

If these kids started trading text documents, I don't think it would take long for LibreOffice to topple MS Office in their demographic.

Re:Libre Office QuickOffice (5, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029931)

> Think about what it would take to get you to shift from Google to Bing.

A gun to my head and my family held hostage.

Re:Libre Office QuickOffice (2)

chowdahhead (1618447) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030183)

I still think Google should have thrown their money at Libreoffice and financially supported the efforts to port it to Android, instead or in addition to purchasing Quickoffice.

Re:Libre Office QuickOffice (3, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030473)

I don't know. I keep seeing LibreOffice showing up in more and more households. I started using it because it is just more convenient to download it and use it than it is deal with buying MS Office. Yes, the price difference matters, but the convenience of not having to deal with a transaction and any kind of DRM is the real reason. MS Office is just more hassle than it is worth.

That being said, I don't do a lot of writing. For 90% of my word processing, (like this) a text box in the browser is more than enough. I am not writing huge novels. I am not doing enterprise level accounting. But, I do believe that I am in the majority in my needs. I tend to use 4 word processors:

Notepad: When I specifically want to strip special characters and formatting.
Wordpad: When I want a scratch pad that supports simple formatting
Google Docs: When I want to collaborate on a document
LibreOffice: When a want a complex (relatively speaking) document

I have simply never created a document that LibreOffice wasn't more than adequate for. Word processing reached maturity some time between 1997 and 2000. Word was the best word processor around that time, and thus reached maturity first. I can't pin the specific time that LibreOffice/OpenOffice reached maturity, but it was more than a version ago. We are now in an attrition phase. Word is still prettier than LibreOffice, but for the vast majority of users it is only prettiness and momentum that holds people to Word. Every time a kid just downloads LibreOffice because he doesn't know yet that he is suppose to be tied to MS, the MS juggernaut gets a little weaker.

No (0)

hairyfish (1653411) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029581)

No

Yes (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029753)

Because Google is already disrupted the Game :)

Can Quickoffice On Chromebooks Topple Microsoft's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029617)

No

Microsoft can and will cause compatibility pain with Quickoffice, with Microsofts marketshare 0wning the enterprise, this will cause their ball to keep rolling, and others to lose pace

It already has :) (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029893)

No

Microsoft can and will cause compatibility pain with Quickoffice, with Microsofts marketshare 0wning the enterprise, this will cause their ball to keep rolling, and others to lose pace

Microsoft can be as disruptive as it can, but increasingly Office is looking very shaky in the post pc world....how well is the surface selling? how about windows phone? clearly Office is not selling hardware. Yet alternative hardware from Apple and Google are outselling Windows several times.

Its not that Microsoft is not still the horribly destructive monopoly it always was, its just that *that* monopoly is just not as ripe for abuse as it once was.

yes (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029649)

Yes, everyone's always wanted to pay $1000+ for a computer that they don't own that has worse specs than one half the price.

Apple is off topic (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029891)

Yes, everyone's always wanted to pay $1000+ for a computer that they don't own that has worse specs than one half the price.

I know Apples computer sales have taken a massive hit this quarter, but this is about Chrome. Who have chromebooks at $200[they are the machine at half the price] and at $1200 [that comes with a 2560 x 1700 touchscreen] attacking both ends of the market. I wonder where HP's chromebooks are going to end up :)

Never Happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029663)

I work in an educational setting and we use Google stuff. Everyone hates it. Teachers have MacBook Pros and kids have MacBook Airs with Google Apps. No one likes Google Apps. No one. People want traditional installed MS Office or Office 365. MS Office is the de facto standard for an office suite. Love or hate MS, but Office is simply the best suite out there. Do other suites work? Sure. Are they as pretty with as much functionality and great fonts, etc? No.

Too many people are too passionate about the political side of software and hardware. They care too much about software license politics, etc. Use what works best. Be interested in the tech not the politics. This is why, for example, IMHO, BSD is a better overall ecosystem than Linux. I'm slowly moving from Linux to BSD for precisely these reasons. Linux is too political and I get better help and better documentation on the BSD side.

My mantra going forward: Windows with MS Office on the desktop, BSD on the servers.

The real question is... (2)

Rob Y. (110975) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029685)

The real question is can Native Client become a viable portable GUI toolkit to rival HTML5 for stuff that can't be done easily (or well) with HTML5. If so, then eventually the Chromebook model will fly. Currently, Chrombooks' being limited to HTML isn't good enough for most people's needs. But if and when all the software most people need can be delivered efficiently over 'the web' (with NC expanding what that means), then the migration may well begin.

Certainly if the QuickOffice NC comes up to LibreOffice standards, MSOffice is in for trouble. Today, Google Docs vs. full blown Office isn't a real comparison.

Of course, it's all a big if - multiple ifs in fact. Java was supposed to do all this 10 years ago. But things are very different today from where they were 10 years ago, so you can't assume history will repeat itself. Is Native Client any good? Is it open enough that it can be implemented in browsers other than Chrome (or would that inevitably lead to the kind of fragmentation that killed client-side Java)? Who knows, maybe Android will become the portable toolkit devs need, and client apps will remain relatively fat. To me, Native Client seems more flexible. You have the option of running apps thin, and there's nothing to prevent you from using the NC toolkit to run locally-installed apps as well. It's just the latest 'the browser is the OS' model - but maybe this one's good.

Re:The real question is... (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029925)

Currently, Chrombooks' being limited to HTML isn't good enough for most people's needs. But if and when all the software most people need can be delivered efficiently over 'the web' (with NC expanding what that means), then the migration may well begin.

Portable use of notebooks is closely linked with their offline use. There are plenty of locations where you cannot, or do not dare to, use WiFi. Offline use of a notebook stops you from using web-based applications. Most notebook uses are comfortable with locally executed software and cannot imagine that they cannot work on an airplane, or in a moving car, bus, train... in many cases such work is required and expected.

Unlimited network access over wide areas is not going to be free for quite some time. It may be also not possible if the usable spectrum is congested. (You cannot just go to 60 GHz, that band has range measured in feet.) This means that universal net access from anywhere is not going to happen. At least not when the country, if not the world, is in recession.

People understand that this is a great solution in search of a problem. The always-on device does not have any advantage over a traditional setup. It only needs gigabytes to be sent to you and from you; a waste that is completely unnecessary. In majority of applications this device buys you nothing; there is nothing that you can say is possible now, whereas it was not possible before. Why would anyone adopt this method?

The only winners here are software manufacturers, who are itching to become software landlords and collect rent for every application started, for every photo processed, for every song played.

To me, Native Client seems more flexible. You have the option of running apps thin, and there's nothing to prevent you from using the NC toolkit to run locally-installed apps as well.

Java/Android and, to some extent, other technologies (C#) have solved this problem already. Why do we need yet another solution? Just to support SaaS? Google's Chromium was always questioned about its purpose, given that Android is already mature and very functional, and can run your software locally, or remotely, or anywhere in between.

Some great ideas here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029703)

Let me write them all down and save them.
Oh!

In a word, no. Compatibility. (4, Insightful)

crankyspice (63953) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029705)

Over the years, I've kept tabs on, and used to one degree or another, various Office alternatives. Apple's Pages. OpenOffice.org and now LibreOffice. Etc. None of them are 100% compatible with Microsoft's file formats. For the type of work I do (law-and-motion briefs, appellate briefs, etc.), there are strict formatting requirements (e.g., line numbers 1-28 down the left side of the page, double-line borders, specific font and margin requirements, page limits, etc). There's also quite often a need to exchange documents with opposing counsel, for, e.g., joint stipulations. Finally, I need to be able to submit documents to the judge's chambers in Microsoft Word (or WordPerfect .WPD) format, and they have to look right when the judge opens them. The judiciary isn't going to go with OOo anytime soon (they're still slavishly tied to WordPerfect!)...

None of the 'Office alternatives' has been able to work with a document created by 'real' Office and retain its formatting; likewise, none of the documents I've created using Pages or OOo or ... has looked anything close to what it should (all line numbering/borders gone, etc) when opened in 'real' Office.

For even moderately complex documents, the alternatives, including Google Docs (a/k/a/ Drive), QuickOffice, etc., do not create or properly work with fully Word compatible documents, and hence I cannot use them in my profession. Office 2011 is a cost of doing business for me.

Re:In a word, no. Compatibility. (2, Interesting)

walterbyrd (182728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029817)

Okay, for you, for now, QuickOffice won't work.

But does that mean that QuickOffice cannot gain wide enough acceptance to disrupt ms-office dominance?

I have a .mil email address. That means I can buy Office 2013 for $10. But I don't. I hate ms-office, and I'm sick of MS's file format scam.

If I get an office doc that I cannot read, I will send it back, and ask for it to be saved in a more standard format, then re-sent.

I don't know for sure, but the idea of online docs disrupting ms-office sales does not seem entirely unrealistic to me.

Re:In a word, no. Compatibility. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030145)

"I'm sick of MS's file format scam."

what is this magical scam, one that can be avoided by installing a free plugin from microsoft so that office 2003 can read 2007 files?

oh fucking boy, that was a real ass raping scam there microsoft

"If I get an office doc that I cannot read, I will send it back, and ask for it to be saved in a more standard format"

what is more standard than a format thats been going on for nearly 30 fucking years you dumbshit, someone pulls that shit with me Ill send them a clairis appleworks file and tell them to shove it, I dont have time for your hippy freetard bullshit thats just going to fuck every single pixel of formatting cause "you dont like offfice"

Re:In a word, no. Compatibility. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030189)

If you sent that reply to me I'd tell you to fuck off and then ask your superiors why they are employing a jackass that would rather grandstand over non-work related issues than to actually get his job done.

Re:In a word, no. Compatibility. (3, Interesting)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029855)

There's also quite often a need to exchange documents with opposing counsel, for, e.g., joint stipulations. Finally, I need to be able to submit documents to the judge's chambers in Microsoft Word (or WordPerfect .WPD) format, and they have to look right when the judge opens them. The judiciary isn't going to go with OOo anytime soon (they're still slavishly tied to WordPerfect!)...

They won't take PDFs?

Re:In a word, no. Compatibility. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030157)

"I need to be able to submit documents to the judge's chambers in Microsoft Word (or WordPerfect .WPD) format"

do you see PDF fucknuts?

Re:In a word, no. Compatibility. (5, Insightful)

iserlohn (49556) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030163)

Even MS Office doesn't open MS Office files properly. Try opening a DOC file with Word 2007, save it in DOCX, import it it using the filter in Word 2003 and save it back in DOC format again. Yes, things break if you have a moderately complex document. Maybe not as obvious as if you imported it into OOO and then back to DOC, but it's not seamless.

The problem is that the DOC format sucks. The DOCX format sucks even more. That "standard" was designed so that there would never be any real interoperability between "implementations" unless it was the MS implementation.

Re:In a word, no. Compatibility. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030637)

You're doing it wrong! Why not just save as DOC in 2007. Open it in 2003 and it works fine every situation I've encountered.

Re:In a word, no. Compatibility. (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030491)

How do you cope each time a new version of MS Office comes out and breaks compatibility in similar minor ways in old documents?

That's a "No" from me too (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029715)

The only thing that can hope to topple MS Office is an open document format. Microsoft has a format in ISO but it's not quite accurate enough to do an independant implementation and has many vague descriiptions of behaviors and/or descriptions of behaviors that references things not part of the office suite. (I'm sure most of us followed the whole ISO certification thing... they "fast tracked" a standard which wasn't complete or accurate and has yet to be fully implemented.)

So OOXML is still quite proprietary and no one can faithfully implement it based on the ISO speciification alone. And so since MS Office documents are still the defacto standard in business and government, nothing else but Microsoft Office can be used to access the data faithfully.

Re:That's a "No" from me too (4, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029909)

The only thing that can hope to topple MS Office is an open document format. Microsoft has a format in ISO but it's not quite accurate enough to do an independant implementation and has many vague descriiptions of behaviors and/or descriptions of behaviors that references things not part of the office suite. (I'm sure most of us followed the whole ISO certification thing... they "fast tracked" a standard which wasn't complete or accurate and has yet to be fully implemented.) So OOXML is still quite proprietary and no one can faithfully implement it based on the ISO speciification alone.

They did eventually describe the stranger parts of the specification (e.g. 'autoSpaceLikeWord95'). The problem is that OOXML is basically an XML-serialized dump of MS Office guts; it wasn't designed from the ground up with interoperability in mind like ODF was, so interoperability is very hard. The spec runs to literally thousands of pages.

The new version of Office is supposed to include the option to save as "OOXML Strict", which should cut back on some of the deprecated junk (such as VML) in the OOXML spec. But I don't think this will be enabled by default, and even if it was, the old documents will continue to be around for years to come and will still have to be dealt with.

Google is one of the few organizations on the planet (other than Microsoft) with the resources to produce a good OOXML document reader/writer, so it's a shame that their efforts here have been so lackluster.

Another no. (1)

xpax666 (2625167) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029767)

No. The second the users realize they aren't using Microsoft Office they'll either have an aneurysm or cause IT staff to do so.

Ribbon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029779)

If the ribbon can't kill Office, nothing will.

Not with the current version of QuickOffice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029813)

Not with the current feature set of QuickOffice. Also, QuickOffice is ugly compared to Microsoft Office.

simple (1, Redundant)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029819)

Then you don't understand Betteriges. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030219)

I'm a little tired of this quote being misused without reading the article on wikipedia. From that tiny article

"any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word "no." The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bollocks, and don’t actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it."

Please do not transform /. into a link-bait site.. (3, Interesting)

boethius (14423) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029829)

PLEASE.

If you've seen sites like TechCrunch or Business Insider they are fond of writing articles with salacious titles like the one above. The article titles are deliberately inflammatory and custom-designed to create click-through traffic as well as troll-ridden "comments" where people heatedly argue about the merit or lack of merit (almost always the latter) of the article's poorly-researched content. For those reasons I've deliberately chosen not to follow those sites any more.

The OP assumes so much it's ridiculous. Office is the Sun; QuickOffice is a microscopic dot on the Sun. Of the Fortune 1000 how many, realistically, use Chromebooks? Or Google Apps, even? It's creeping up there surely, but so few it's not even a statistical aberration yet.

Long-term there is no question more and more office functions will move to the web and they will be used by more and more companies - probably mostly the small, sub-1000-5000 employee companies. The apps are getting very good but there will always be a large percentage of corporations who did not want any apps or data sitting outside the company LAN/WAN, period. In 10-15 years we may laugh about how silly we were to use apps installed on our computers but for the foreseeable future it's MS Office for the VAST majority of large-ish companies and the business community out there.

...or maybe you are simply behind the times (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030139)

how many, realistically, use Chromebooks? Or Google Apps, even?

Enough that Google think they can charge http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business/pricing.html [google.com]
for Google Apps for Business.

so few it's not even a statistical aberration (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030155)

use Chromebooks? Or Google Apps, even? It's creeping up there surely, but so few it's not even a statistical aberration yet.

I remember Balmer laughing at Linux being such a small percentage. Its kind of ironic that you would try to do the same in they year Android is set to overtake window as the primary OS, an OS Microsoft Office does not run on, but Google Docs does.

No (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43029857)

Just no.

price (1)

emkyooess (1551693) | about a year and a half ago | (#43029957)

Consider that the Chromebook is about twice the price of my company's average machine... Including software costs. No.

Not to mention, our people [collectively] *use* all those features in Office that everyone claims "no one uses".

Re:price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030069)

Parent poster here:
My bad, reading comprehension failure. I read "Chromebook" as "Pixel". But the answer is still the same. Chromebooks are barely less than the commodity machines we get currently, for reduced functionality.

Betteridge's law of headlines. (1)

fufufang (2603203) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030153)

I think I will invoke Betteridge's law of headlines here. The simple answer is no. Quickoffice on Chromebook is a bit like a pocket knife. Microsoft Office is a similar to a kitchen knife. They both have their purposes, and they are designed for different market niches. Yes sometimes there are overlaps. However in this case the overlap is not big enough.

When was the last time you used Office? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030457)

At work every computer has an office license.
Documents are always done on PDF pro, because PDF is the company distribution format not DOC.
Spreadsheets, we never see them. I use Open Office for my timesheet, but there simply aren't any company spreadsheets distributed. I don't like the ribbon, and I don't want to pay for a license at home, so I use Open Office at work too.

We use Oracle as the database because it runs on all our servers, not just the MS ones.
Power point? Never use it, we discuss the PDF specs, not abstract vague visual representations of the PDF specs.
Email is (yuck) Lotus 123 for legacy reasons, but most of us use the webmail server to access it.
Visual studio has long been replaced by Eclipse.
Firefox is the standard, but some still use IE.
We still use Windows, currently at Windows 7 with QA having a few Windows 8s.

So will Open Office replace MS Office? Well yes, but only because it's free and MS Office is just disappearing from corporate life. Printed memos are history, it's all electronic, it's just becoming irrelevant.

Inertia is a heck of a thing. (3, Interesting)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year and a half ago | (#43030469)

Many moons ago, I started working for a company that was [cough] lax in their licensing of productivity software. They griped about how much it would cost to get their licenses in order. I got the relevant VeeP to install OpenOffice and try it for a month. He asked me for help on a couple of minor issues during that time and, at the end of the month, he said he'd been able to do everything he needed to do without ever opening the old software once. He was able to open, edit, and save every document and exchange documents within the company and with our clients and vendors with no trouble at all. "Great! So I can develop a plan to transition us to OpenOffice." "No. I just don't feel comfortable using something that doesn't cost money."

By the time I left the company, our licenses were in order and we had a new VeeP who embraced open source, free, etc. software but it was an uphill battle that shouldn't have been a battle at all.

the only way to change the game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43030587)

The only way to change the game is to stop using proprietary applications and docuemnt formats designed for incompatibility and lockin and, instead, use standards based document formats controlled collectively by all interested parties and supported and supportable by multiple, independent and competing vendors.

Otherwise, you are just changing the currently dominant vendor/application in the same old game: incompatibility, lockin and control leading to monopoly abused for revenue and the elimination of competition.

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