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Clouds hang over Microsoft Office, SharePoint 2010 launch

Joab Jackson | May 13, 2010
The Redmond giant takes on the cloud with the release of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010

"Docs really is a single app that acts as a series of apps, which is very different from what Office is," Rochelle said, explaining that Office is a set of applications, each with rich functionality, but not really designed to work together.

Rochelle said that Google Docs offers many of the features, such as multiperson editing, that Office 2010 provides, eliminating the need for current Office users to upgrade.

"We don't want customers to think they have to go to Office 2010, because they can use Docs for collaboration," Rochelle said.

Likewise, Google Sites can be used as a low-cost, easy-to-deploy, alternative to SharePoint, Rochelle said.

Microsoft Office still holds the lion's share of the market for office productivity suites. A July 2009 survey from IT research firm IDC found that approximately 97 percent of the respondents said that at least one version of Microsoft Office is used in their organizations. But Google is gaining ground, the same survey found that 19.5 percent of respondents were in organizations that used Google Docs in some form, up from 5.8 percent a year prior.

IDC principal analyst Melinda-Carol Ballou, who attended the event, said that these releases are significant ones, though she felt the presentations did not divulge enough detail about how developers could extend the functionality of these programs, particularly through tools such as Microsoft Project 2010 and Visual Studio 2010. "Software innovation underlies business innovation. New integration across Project portfolio and life cycle across those products and with SharePoint is key and was not discussed as part of the launch event," she said.


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