OpenOffice vers. 2.2 and Google Apps: Did the fat lady sing for M$ Office yet?

For those of you who are interested in online applications, you’ve probably used Google Apps before now. Most people hadn’t thought that much about Google as an Office Killer, but now Google Apps has just acquired another component in the Office category to fill in the space between Word and Excel. It’s now got a Powerpoint alternative. This matches with quite an extensive array of other components that are increasingly integrated: Google Docs, Website management, database, Advertising, Domains, Stats, etc… The list is quite extensive. In fact, it’s kind of making Office Live look jaded already, and Google hasn’t really started yet to transform the computing experience…

The BusinessWeek Blog by Rob Hof cites Nick Carr’s as saying about Google Apps:

You first use them as add-on tools for manipulating and sharing Microsoft files online, and then, eventually, you find that you don’t need the underlying applications anymore. Google Apps, in other words, is designed not as an Office Killer but rather as a kind of Office Bodysnatcher. Google doesn’t want to fight the Microsoft apps head-on. It wants to get inside them, and slowly take them over.

I don’t quite agree with that statement, but our office is slowly migrating away from Office 97/2000. We have no plans to upgrade to XP or 2007 versions. Instead, we are using OpenOffice which provides a very usable alternative, and our staff once they realize that they have to relearn Office 2007 anyway agree that they might as well learn OpenOffice.

It’s true that the conversion from Word Document format is painful, esp. with the kind of documents we use, the biggest bugbear we have is the line spacing which is always wrong when we open the converted file in Oo.

But with the increasingly rapacious hands of Microsoft, and their increasingly invasive DRM and copy protections, I’m slowly convinced that our business will be having Penguins as guests soon, and probably when their desktop is friendlier as roommates on our pcs. Naturally, though the photocopy guy is going to be stumped to provide drivers for our aging copy machine, but I’d rather just change our photocopier machine!

Personal Rant: Disclaimer. I don’t own stock in MS or Google ( I wish I did, though! ). I just have an axe to grind.

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