I learned today that Microsoft has entered the world of online office applications. You know, that’s great to hear. Even though I have zero interest in trying it myself, this is certainly good news for those that enjoy MS Office over other more cost efficient alternatives such as Open Office.
To be clear though, Open Office is a desktop application like MS Office Suite, so why is Microsoft in such a rush to create an online-based office suite? No competition from Oo, right? In a word, Google. The once college project turned Internet superpower has been eyeing the possibility of an office suite for quite sometime now. And this as you migh imagine, had Microsoft concerned enough to do something about.
Really, I can hardly blame them for being concerned over Google’s intentions. The search engine giant has both the cash and the personnel resources to do just about anything that they wish. But is Microsoft already too late? I mean, they do know that ThinkFree has not only conquered that feat with flying colors, but they have done so with style, too!
That’s right, for no cost, you can create, edit and even save your documents online from any Java-based browser. Since this is a Java-based solution, it is a little bit slow during the first use. Once those little applets are in place however, this application is very fast and easy to use.
Looking back at the Microsoft version, I am not even sure they will be offering it for free? And one funny thing to note is a statement mentioned in this article; “…seeking to fend off a growing threat from Google Inc. and other nimble upstarts born on the Internet.”
Other upstarts, eh? Ya guys. That upstart you are referring to offers a spectacular office suite for practically nothing and they also offer their wares cross platform, too. This is not even taking in to account that they offer their online version completely free, unless you want more storage. Then again, you could just store the docs on your hard drive if you run out of room with your free online storage at ThinkFree.
How could ThinkFree be improved? Take a page from Microsoft and offer some word processor and presentation templates.
OK, so how could MS Office be better? Take a page from ThinkFree and include PDF file convertibility, offer an iPod edition in order to compete for iPod users. Oh ya, forgot to mention that. ThinkFree can actually give presentations from compatible iPods! This may sound silly, but being able to do this is really handy when sitting next to the boss on the airplane and he/she is expressing concern over the validity of your ‘big presentation’ to the new Anderson account. Just stop the tunes and wow them with your presentation skills!
Look, Microsoft has a good OS. Yes, I say this as I am typing this from a Linux box. Still, it’s true. Overall, Windows is a pretty darn good operating system. But when it comes to being innovative outside of the OS world. RSS in IE 7? Sorry, that was a Firefox plugin for a long time now, impressed I am not. However, the innovation of their Windows update system is certainly worth a mention.
It’s safe to say that they do good in some areas, but they still have a lot of work in others. The reports are that Longhorn/Vista is going to be dynamite. And while I admire their efforts with security, it is their licensing headaches and frothing DRM love that turns me off of them completely. But then again, it’s not like my opinion matters, right? Well, I have heard from a number of media outlets that might just disagree with that thinking. Why? Because I am a PC user and one that has strong opinions. Fame has nothing to do with it. Heck, I am hardly famous by any stretch. Outspoken on the other hand, well, that has should be pretty obvious by now I think.
[tags]web application,microsoft office,thinkfree,open office[/tags]