Tag: microsoft_office

Are IBM, Google and Sun ganging up on Microsoft?

I see IBM are now jumping into the free Office software arena by launching IBM Lotus Symphony.

IBM Lotus Symphony is a free download from the IBM site (registration required).

Up until now, Microsoft’s competition in this space has come from OpenOffice and Google – neither of whom have a strong track record in the Enterprise Office space! The entry of IBM into this space is game changing.

As well as making Symphony free for download, IBM are also committing 35 developers to the OpenOffice development project. Again conferring the the IBM seal of approval on OpenOffice suddenly marks it up for serious consideration by larger companies.

Seen in light of these recent announcements, Microsoft’s recent move to capture the student market for Office begins to have an air of desperation about it!

Google's Office 2.0 steps up a gear

Sam Schillace (didn’t he play for Italy in the 1990 world cup?) over at Google has just posted that Google are going to roll out the long predicted Google presentation software application this summer.

This is technology which they bought in via their purchase of Tonic Systems (a San Francisco-based company that provides Java presentation software).

This will be integrated into their Google Docs and Spreadsheets which will now (hopefully not) be renamed Google Docs, Spreadsheets and Presentations!

Google are still playing down the obvious Microsoft Office comparison and to a large extent they are correct, these applications are light on functionality yet. The operative word here, though is ‘yet’.

The massive advantage of applications delivered over the web is that they can be updated centrally on the server and everyone using them, automatically benefits from the new functionality. No missing driver issues, no installation woes, it just works.

To the guys at Microsoft. I have been telling you for a long time now that this was going to happen. You need to release a lightweight version of Microsoft Office on the web, for free, with an easy upgrade path to a downloadable paid-for full featured version.

Ignore this much longer and Google are going to start eating in to your Office market share.

Microsoft Office? Oh yeah, I remember that…

Via the Google Blogoscoped site comes news of Google’s integration of Google Spreadsheets and Docs into Gmail. Now, anyone receiving an Excel spreadsheet as an attachment in Gmail will be offered the option to open the Spreadsheet in Google Spreadsheets (see below).

Gmail - Google spreadsheet integration

Similar functionality has yet to be added for Word documents but, no doubt, it won’t be long.

Microsoft Office? Oh yeah, I remember that…

Google launch attack on the Office Enterprise market

Google has released Google Applications for Your Domain – you can sign up and check it out over at http://www.google.com/a.

Google Applications for Your Domain currently allows you to run Gmail, Gtalk, and Gpages (a web publishing tool) through your own domain. One immediate advantage of doing this is that Gmail’s spam filters seem to be very good so running company mail through it should reduce spam problems you may be having.

It is also planned to integrate Google’s online word Processor (Writely) and Google Spreadsheets so that Microsoft Office need never be fired up (or even installed!).

When you sign up you get the following screen:

Google Applications for Your Domain

The functionality is sparse right now but the great thing about software as a service is that updates are constantly being rolled out to the benefit of the consumer. One nice feature in the setup is the bulk uploader which allows you to upload a csv file for setup of your users:
Gayd advanced tools

Microsoft needs to be worried. Not because this threatens them from the point of view of functionality but because this new model is quickly becoming the accepted norm. And although Microsoft are getting into this arena too, who would you trust with your company’s data, Google or Microsoft?

UPDATE: D’oh! I forgot to title this post. Title added subsequently along with bang on the head to remind me not to do that again!

Are Microsoft at the Web 2.0 races?

I have been asked to give a presentation, on Microsoft’s relevance in the Web 2.0 arena.

What do people think, are Microsoft a player in this sphere? They have Office Live, Windows Live Mail, MSN Spaces and they are a big supporter of RSS – it will be baked into the next versions of Internet Explorer (IE7), Office and Windows Vista.

Hell, Microsoft even have Atlas, a free framework for developing Ajaxy Web 2.0 applications!

Darren Barefoot interview podcast

I recorded an interview with Darren Barefoot at the end of last week but what with the Scoble’s visit and the IT@Cork conference, I haven’t had a chance to publish it until now.

Darren is an uber blogger, a web marketer, he is involved in Capulet Communications, Northern voice, darrenbarefoot.com, geek travellers blog – that I know of – a busy man! Darren was good enough to take some time out to discuss these and other interests with me.

Here are the questions I asked Darren and the times in the interview they were asked:

  • Darren, you are involved in Capulet Communications, Northern Voice, darrenbarefoot.com, geek travellers blog – that I know of – that must keep you quite busy… – 0:25
  • You are also involved in lighting design… – 0:56
  • Northern Voice, is that like BarCamp, just up north? – 1:45
  • Given your relationship with Ireland, could you speculate why so few Irish companies have started blogging? – 3:38
  • This whole Web 2.0 stuff, what is it? – 7:06
  • So there’s a difference between the term Web 2.0 and the reality which is the evolution of web applications…- 9:07
  • There seems to be a huge amount of hype around the term, are we heading for another bubble? – 10:22
  • Do you think Web 2.0 is changing how marketing is done these days? – 12:04
  • What about companies who are building software applications which are not Web 2.0 – how do they create a web buzz? – 16:21
  • It seems to be becoming the norm that sites are being monetized by ads – do you think we will soon see free versions of Microsoft office or Microsoft Windows? – 19:27
  • Does the fact that many of your applications are online help manage your remote clients? – 22:37
  • Finally, Mac or PC? – 24:07

You can listen to the full interview here (5.9mb mp3).

Microsoft becoming more open?

Microsoft made two major announcements overnight – the first is an announcement by Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie that Microsoft are extending RSS under a Creative Commons licence, and calling the extended RSS, Simple Sharing Extensions or SSE.

Russell Beattie likes it:

Adding in SSE namespace could then in theory allow *any* data contained in an item can be kept in sync. Pretty cool, hey? Sort of a universal data communication spec: Anything that any database can spit out, you can keep track of it, synchronize, and manage changes. Very, very cool.

As does Dave Winer (the inventer of (the current flavour of) RSS):

Microsoft’s new approach to synchronizing RSS and OPML, using methods pioneered in Ozzie’s earlier work, and keeping the “really simple” approach that’s worked so well with networked syndication and outlining, combines the best of our two schools of thought, and this creativity is available for everyone to use. It’s a proud moment for me, I hope for Ray and Jack and the rest of the people at Microsoft, and perhaps for the open development community on the Internet.

There’s a draft spec for SSE and a FAQ, if you’d like to know more.

Then Brian Jones, of the Microsoft Office team, made an announcement about the Office XML formats. Brian said:

We are going to bring the Microsoft Office Open XML formats to a standards body with the intention of eventually making the formats an ISO standard. This should really help everyone feel certain that these formats will always be available and fully accessible. We are going to work with Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, the British Library, Essilor, Intel Corporation, NextPage Inc., Statoil ASA and Toshiba to form a technical committee at ECMA International that will fully document all of our schemas so that anyone can understand how to develop on top of them

This is a huge step forward for Office formats – this will clear the way for the simple creation and sharing (mashing) of Office documents server side.

Even more significantly, Brian went on to say:

we are moving away from our royalty free license, and instead we are going to provide a very simple and general statement that we make an irrevocable commitment not to sue. I’m not a lawyer, but from what I can see, this “covenant not to sue” looks like it should clear the way for GPL development which was a concern for some folks.

This is tremendous news – I was moderating a talk recently at Tech Camp Ireland and I remember making a comment on the fact that Microsoft was opening up their Office format and making it XML by default. I was quickly slapped down from the audience (by Colm MacCarthaigh, if memory serves – apologies Colm if it wasn’t you) because I was told it was going to be proprietory and in any case it would all be tied up in licencing. I didn’t have any ammo with which to defend Microsoft at the time (and frankly, not generally being their greatest fan, I wasn’t too upset by the comment!) however, this announcement changes that.

Make it so Brian!