Space Ramblings

Microsoft Tries to Compete with Google Office

Minus the competing part. At least that seems to be the idea as Microsoft releases Office Live Workspace in Beta, which is basically something like Adobe’s Acrobat viewer, in other words of extremely limited use. The whole point of Google Office is collaboration. The whole point of Microsoft’s Office Live Workspace is a weak attempt at trying to compete with Google Office while completely missing the point. Collaboration means doing more than viewing documents, especially since Microsoft Office formats are virtually universal anyway and most computers already support them, it means breaking the barrier by modifying and creating them.

Adobe Acrobat became popular because viewing was the solution but viewing Office documents isn’t enough because viewing isn’t collaboration. These days even Yahoo Mail has been letting you view Office documents in your browser. That’s how late to the game Microsoft Office Live Workspace is. Microsoft has to choose between its cash cow and its need for format supremacy and control over its software. Tentative half-measures won’t do it because it’s far too easy for Google Documents to steal the show.

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