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Ask Slashdot: Can Quickoffice On Chromebooks Topple Microsoft's Office? 242

Nerval's Lobster writes "As we discussed yesterday, Google is bringing a Quickoffice viewer to its new high-end Chromebook Pixel, with full editing ability expected within three months. According to TechCrunch, Quickoffice-on-Chromebooks comes courtesy of Native Client. If Chromebooks prove a hit (and Google ports Quickoffice onto devices other than the ultra-high-priced Chromebook Pixel), could that mean the beginning of the end of Microsoft Office's market dominance of the productivity software space? While Microsoft has been pushing into the cloud with software like Office 365, that's also Google's home territory. But can Google actually disrupt the game?"
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Ask Slashdot: Can Quickoffice On Chromebooks Topple Microsoft's Office?

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  • by Press2ToContinue ( 2424598 ) * on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:00PM (#43029489)

    an enterprise-class laptop? Is that what you're sayin??

    Uhmmm... no.

  • it doesn't have to (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alen ( 225700 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:04PM (#43029521)

    MS Office is too featured and too expensive for most users. Most home and small business users will be just fine with quickoffice or one of the free ones.

    MS screwed up by not having a cheap version. they used to have Works but never pushed it to the point of people knowing about it. only idiots spent $200 for MS Office at home

  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:08PM (#43029551)

    Can Quickoffice topple MS Office?


    The "consumer market" is not what drives Office sales and use, it's business sales and use.

    For various reasons, larger businesses - the major buyer of MS Office license - will not be adopting Quickoffice any time soon if at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:09PM (#43029561)

    LibreOffice is much better than QuickOffice - and it seems to have had minimal impact on the juggernaut that is MS Office.

    It's a bit like Google and other search engines. In theory one could come along and topple Google. In reality, the reason that Google (and MS Office) are in the position they are in is that "good enough" isn't enough to disrupt the market leader.

    Think about what it would take to get you to shift from Google to Bing. Bing wouldn't need to be as good as Google, it would need to be obviously *better*.

    QuickOffice doesn't have to be better than LibreOffice to disrupt MS Office - it's got to be quite obviously better.

  • by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:13PM (#43029597)

    Most of what I've seen Excel get used for in an office setting would be better served by a database....

    But the point you make is fair enough, and the point I was going to make: people aren't going to invest in a new platform without a major impetus to go looking for a new platform. If the one they have works for what they're doing, then it's generally less hassle to keep buying it. This is why some banks are still running DOS....

    Until Microsoft stops selling corporate licenses and forces everybody to Office Online where they can charge a monthly tithe, business simply isn't going to look elsewhere. It's coming... They're already trying to force home users to an online version... but I doubt Microsoft is stupid enough to think that business will happily accept switching to a platform where they don't have control over the files themselves, and home users will continue to buy the monthly tithe version of MS Office, because that's what they have at work. Very savvy, really....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:20PM (#43029669)

    Best laptop on the market is exceedingly subjective. Sub 5 hour battery price is unacceptable to a lot of people. Inability to run Windows is unacceptable to some others.

  • by crankyspice ( 63953 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:25PM (#43029705)

    Over the years, I've kept tabs on, and used to one degree or another, various Office alternatives. Apple's Pages. and now LibreOffice. Etc. None of them are 100% compatible with Microsoft's file formats. For the type of work I do (law-and-motion briefs, appellate briefs, etc.), there are strict formatting requirements (e.g., line numbers 1-28 down the left side of the page, double-line borders, specific font and margin requirements, page limits, etc). There's also quite often a need to exchange documents with opposing counsel, for, e.g., joint stipulations. Finally, I need to be able to submit documents to the judge's chambers in Microsoft Word (or WordPerfect .WPD) format, and they have to look right when the judge opens them. The judiciary isn't going to go with OOo anytime soon (they're still slavishly tied to WordPerfect!)...

    None of the 'Office alternatives' has been able to work with a document created by 'real' Office and retain its formatting; likewise, none of the documents I've created using Pages or OOo or ... has looked anything close to what it should (all line numbering/borders gone, etc) when opened in 'real' Office.

    For even moderately complex documents, the alternatives, including Google Docs (a/k/a/ Drive), QuickOffice, etc., do not create or properly work with fully Word compatible documents, and hence I cannot use them in my profession. Office 2011 is a cost of doing business for me.

  • by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:27PM (#43029721)

    The reason the new Chromebook Pixel has been panned by reviewers is simple:

    On a normal laptop: You can run chrome and every other application.
    On the Pixel: You can only run chrome.

    So why would I pay the same price for a device which limits what I can run? Windows 8 tablets have tradeoffs from their ARM/Windows RT compatriots. They have worse battery life, they weigh more and they cost more. The Pixel is like paying $1200 for a windows tablet that only ran IE.

  • by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:32PM (#43029763)

    Most of what I've seen Excel get used for in an office setting would be better served by a database....

    That's true. But the average user isn't technically savvy enough to configure a database (and even if they could, IT policy might prohibit it), while that same user can come up with something quick-and-dirty in Excel. The ease of use makes up for the limited feature set and sub-par performance.

    In theory, these Excel "apps" should be replaced with real databases by IT once they become an important part of business logic, but in practice, that seldom happens, and the original hacked-together solution continues to be used for many years.

  • Marketing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tuppe666 ( 904118 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:35PM (#43029791)

    QuickOffice doesn't have to be better than LibreOffice to disrupt MS Office - it's got to be quite obviously better.

    Actually Libreoffice is better than Microsoft Office in many ways, Google has Branding [and Money, influence and power], something Libreoffice unfortunately lost [Much to the disgrace of the Apache foundation]. Lets be honest Microsfoft Office in not very good, if it hadn't been for an incredibly entrenched monopoly [or open file formats] it would have been replaced years ago.

  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:36PM (#43029801)

    I'll argue that it is not. Here are a few ways in which someone might consider another option better:
    -It's heavier than some
    -It cannot detach screen and/or flip in such a way to get keyboard out of the way
    -The keyboard doesn't have a nipple mouse
    -It can't run Windows
    -It doesn't have as much ram as others
    -It doesn't have as fast a processor as others
    -It doesn't have as much battery life as others.
    -It doesn't support pen input

    The truth is, there is no such thing as 'the' greatest laptop on the market today. Everyone has different preferences and priorities.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:39PM (#43029825)

    Your Fortune 50 company trusts all your documents, data and mail to the Google cloud? Tell me more.

  • by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:51PM (#43029909)

    The only thing that can hope to topple MS Office is an open document format. Microsoft has a format in ISO but it's not quite accurate enough to do an independant implementation and has many vague descriiptions of behaviors and/or descriptions of behaviors that references things not part of the office suite. (I'm sure most of us followed the whole ISO certification thing... they "fast tracked" a standard which wasn't complete or accurate and has yet to be fully implemented.) So OOXML is still quite proprietary and no one can faithfully implement it based on the ISO speciification alone.

    They did eventually describe the stranger parts of the specification (e.g. 'autoSpaceLikeWord95'). The problem is that OOXML is basically an XML-serialized dump of MS Office guts; it wasn't designed from the ground up with interoperability in mind like ODF was, so interoperability is very hard. The spec runs to literally thousands of pages.

    The new version of Office is supposed to include the option to save as "OOXML Strict", which should cut back on some of the deprecated junk (such as VML) in the OOXML spec. But I don't think this will be enabled by default, and even if it was, the old documents will continue to be around for years to come and will still have to be dealt with.

    Google is one of the few organizations on the planet (other than Microsoft) with the resources to produce a good OOXML document reader/writer, so it's a shame that their efforts here have been so lackluster.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:55PM (#43029931) Journal

    > Think about what it would take to get you to shift from Google to Bing.

    A gun to my head and my family held hostage.

  • Re:No. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iserlohn ( 49556 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:08PM (#43030071) Homepage

    So, you mean in other words, the don't know any better?

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:16PM (#43030149)

    The real question is though as always does Microsoft Office matter, as someone who has lived without it using then the answer is yes, and I think the lower priced chromebooks running ARM will will enterprise.

    So you agree that Office matters, BUT you think Chrombooks will win out anyway? Is that what you said?

    I'm not so sure.

    If people are going to embrace cloud storage, Google is going to have to offer Zero Knowledge Encrypted storage, because big business, or sensitive business (medical, legal, etc) is not going to be able to use any hardware solution where they place their documents in another companies hands who in turn could hand them over to anyone with a National Security Letter.

    You need a local storage capability or a secure storage where the cloud operator can't decrypt your files. (aka like SpiderOak).

  • by iserlohn ( 49556 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:18PM (#43030163) Homepage

    Even MS Office doesn't open MS Office files properly. Try opening a DOC file with Word 2007, save it in DOCX, import it it using the filter in Word 2003 and save it back in DOC format again. Yes, things break if you have a moderately complex document. Maybe not as obvious as if you imported it into OOO and then back to DOC, but it's not seamless.

    The problem is that the DOC format sucks. The DOCX format sucks even more. That "standard" was designed so that there would never be any real interoperability between "implementations" unless it was the MS implementation.

  • by mrclisdue ( 1321513 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:43PM (#43030341)

    No, because its nothing to do with preferences(sic) and priorities(sic).

    You' ve indicated by the use of "(sic)" that those two words are either misspelled or improperly-used.

    Would you care to elaborate, as both words are spelled properly...?

  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by recoiledsnake ( 879048 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:13PM (#43030551)

    Why are we discussing whether a office viewer program which does not even having editing capabilities right now and is sure not to get them for the next few months, will beat Office? Is this a joke or what?

    QuickOffice is a proprietary closed source application running on one of the most locked down computers out there, the Chromebook with Secure Boot, where you can't even install Open/LibreOffice like you can do on any Windows PC and is heavily tied to the cloud and is crippled with low storage to encourage you to put valuable files on Google servers.

    Why is Slashdot cheering this again?

  • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:30PM (#43030645)

    OpenOffice/LibreOffice wiht all their awesomeness (and actual editing capabilities!) still did not put a dent in MS Office's dominance. That alone makes me doubt that Google can suddenly do this.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smash ( 1351 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:36AM (#43031331) Homepage Journal
    More to the point, StarOffice, OpenOffice, OOo, Libreoffice, Koffice, etc. have all had 1+ decades to kill Microsoft Office and their success rate has been pretty much zero percent.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming