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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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:14PM (#43029611)

    I work in an Fortune 50 company. A Chromebook would be far fitter for the purpose for almost all the roles that Windows computers are used in now.

    Anything that reduces the complexity and mess caused by Microsoft's idiotic document interchange and formatting incompatibilities would make the change well worthwhile.

  • Re:No. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iserlohn ( 49556 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:24PM (#43029697) Homepage

    Most business use Office only because they don't know any better. Most people would think the worst is Excel, but from my experience, it is Word.

    You have companies producing very important documents such as highly complex tender responses in Word with tens of thousands of sections and a few dozen contributors. The workflow is terrible when you have more than 1 person working on a big document and because how Word forces you to work, you can have the same level of precision as using a proper markup language - like LaTeX.

    Having a real-time collaborative environment makes it a bit better, but you will never get the type of power in the current Word document format as you would get in something like LaTeX.

    If these professional Word user actually a tiny fraction of their time fighting with Word to learn a proper system such as LaTeX, productivity would sky rocket.

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:39PM (#43029817)

    Okay, for you, for now, QuickOffice won't work.

    But does that mean that QuickOffice cannot gain wide enough acceptance to disrupt ms-office dominance?

    I have a .mil email address. That means I can buy Office 2013 for $10. But I don't. I hate ms-office, and I'm sick of MS's file format scam.

    If I get an office doc that I cannot read, I will send it back, and ask for it to be saved in a more standard format, then re-sent.

    I don't know for sure, but the idea of online docs disrupting ms-office sales does not seem entirely unrealistic to me.

  • by boethius ( 14423 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:40PM (#43029829)


    If you've seen sites like TechCrunch or Business Insider they are fond of writing articles with salacious titles like the one above. The article titles are deliberately inflammatory and custom-designed to create click-through traffic as well as troll-ridden "comments" where people heatedly argue about the merit or lack of merit (almost always the latter) of the article's poorly-researched content. For those reasons I've deliberately chosen not to follow those sites any more.

    The OP assumes so much it's ridiculous. Office is the Sun; QuickOffice is a microscopic dot on the Sun. Of the Fortune 1000 how many, realistically, use Chromebooks? Or Google Apps, even? It's creeping up there surely, but so few it's not even a statistical aberration yet.

    Long-term there is no question more and more office functions will move to the web and they will be used by more and more companies - probably mostly the small, sub-1000-5000 employee companies. The apps are getting very good but there will always be a large percentage of corporations who did not want any apps or data sitting outside the company LAN/WAN, period. In 10-15 years we may laugh about how silly we were to use apps installed on our computers but for the foreseeable future it's MS Office for the VAST majority of large-ish companies and the business community out there.

  • by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:44PM (#43029855)

    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!)...

    They won't take PDFs?

  • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @09:51PM (#43030397)

    Why not?

    At my job, almost every tool I use is an internal webapp, and I SSH / NX into my workstation from my laptop to get a command line, run Eclipse, etc. I could replace my Thinkpad with a Pixel and still run at 100% capacity. (it's a bit overkill for my needs, but the Thinkpad wasn't exactly cheap, either)

    Many, many, many people have computers at work only for use with internal webapps and document editing (which can be done through webapps). Why wouldn't the Pixel work for them?

  • by ( 245670 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:00PM (#43030469)

    Many moons ago, I started working for a company that was [cough] lax in their licensing of productivity software. They griped about how much it would cost to get their licenses in order. I got the relevant VeeP to install OpenOffice and try it for a month. He asked me for help on a couple of minor issues during that time and, at the end of the month, he said he'd been able to do everything he needed to do without ever opening the old software once. He was able to open, edit, and save every document and exchange documents within the company and with our clients and vendors with no trouble at all. "Great! So I can develop a plan to transition us to OpenOffice." "No. I just don't feel comfortable using something that doesn't cost money."

    By the time I left the company, our licenses were in order and we had a new VeeP who embraced open source, free, etc. software but it was an uphill battle that shouldn't have been a battle at all.

  • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:01PM (#43030473)
    I don't know. I keep seeing LibreOffice showing up in more and more households. I started using it because it is just more convenient to download it and use it than it is deal with buying MS Office. Yes, the price difference matters, but the convenience of not having to deal with a transaction and any kind of DRM is the real reason. MS Office is just more hassle than it is worth.

    That being said, I don't do a lot of writing. For 90% of my word processing, (like this) a text box in the browser is more than enough. I am not writing huge novels. I am not doing enterprise level accounting. But, I do believe that I am in the majority in my needs. I tend to use 4 word processors:

    Notepad: When I specifically want to strip special characters and formatting.
    Wordpad: When I want a scratch pad that supports simple formatting
    Google Docs: When I want to collaborate on a document
    LibreOffice: When a want a complex (relatively speaking) document

    I have simply never created a document that LibreOffice wasn't more than adequate for. Word processing reached maturity some time between 1997 and 2000. Word was the best word processor around that time, and thus reached maturity first. I can't pin the specific time that LibreOffice/OpenOffice reached maturity, but it was more than a version ago. We are now in an attrition phase. Word is still prettier than LibreOffice, but for the vast majority of users it is only prettiness and momentum that holds people to Word. Every time a kid just downloads LibreOffice because he doesn't know yet that he is suppose to be tied to MS, the MS juggernaut gets a little weaker.
  • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:14PM (#43030557)
    It only takes a generation for a monopoly like that to disappear. I see that with traditional telephones vs. Skype. My son (8) and his circle of friends (6-16) all have smart phones. You would think that they would call each other a lot. They don't. They use Skype almost exclusively. They will sit on their cell phones talking to each other via Skype on the phones. For these kids, the "phone" part of the smart phones is for calling your parents and ordering pizza. For talking to peers you use Skype. My first instinct was to wince at their choice, but I very quickly realized that the problem was mine and that I was falling prey to being used to the traditional phone systems network effect. For these kids, the network effect is pushing Skype over the traditional 10 digit phone system. When new kids join the group, they are quickly pushed to install Skype if they want to be involved in the groups activities.

    Will these kids switch to the traditional phone system when they hit 18? Maybe, but I wouldn't count on it. I have a feeling that they will use the 10 digit phones for what they have to, but that those of us that predate Skype and it's ilk will be dragged into the much better future of post Bell communication.

    If these kids started trading text documents, I don't think it would take long for LibreOffice to topple MS Office in their demographic.
  • by spage ( 73271 ) <spage AT skierpage DOT com> on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:25AM (#43031295)

    Forget the clickbait question posed. As the one (!) commenter on the Slashdot Business Intelligence post asked,

    What advantage does QuickOffice have over the existing Google Docs?

    Google Docs already runs in the browser that's the central focus of Chromebooks/ChromeOS. Offline Google Drive/Google Docs editing has been available on any computer running Chrome since version 20 last year and works well [],

    So why is Google screwing around with Native Client (which will never run in other browsers), developing a separate codebase and another UI? There's a part of Google that believes in the open web, and then there are all the groups doing Android and Native Client and Dart and whatever. Either upper management is too weak to corral all the divisions, or they're happy to develop proprietary ecosystems just in case one succeeds the way Android did.

  • Re:no (Score:3, Interesting)

    by capt_mulch ( 642870 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:29AM (#43031319)
    LibreOffice can't disrupt MS Office because if something is free then there must be something wrong with it (that's how they think out in the Pacific). If LibreOffice had a $400 price tag it would be way more popular than it is. (Stolen watermelon always tastes better). That's why people pirate Windows rather then use Linux - free? what's wrong with it? I'm not getting a 'professional' pirated experience if I don't use Windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2013 @12:43AM (#43031365)

    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!)...

    They won't take PDFs?

    For joint stips, no - those are documents that both sides have to edit extensively. The end result is a PDF that gets e-filed, but before that final step, it has to be a Word or WordPerfect document (I suppose if opposing counsel was using OOo I could use OOo, but they never are.)

    For the proposed orders that go to chambers, we actually have to provide both -- first we e-file a PDF via the court's CM/ECF system, then we send that PDF plus a Word or WordPerfect document, to chambers, so the judge can open it, edit it to the extent s/he desires (often extensively, i.e., by interspersing paragraphs of judicial opinion), and issue it.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Half-pint HAL ( 718102 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @08:48AM (#43033133)

    Exactly. Google is squandering the opportunity to use Android to crush Windows, by instead focusing on these stupid "what do you mean you can't afford a 24/7 4G internet connection" toys.

    Microsoft wants to converge the desktop and mobile experience. The most popular mobile OS is Android. Android on ARM laptops has the potential to be the final Windows killer. Google should be making Droidbooks.

    Google is also squandering the opportunity to use Android to cruch Office, because if they put a team together to port LibreOffice to Android, suddenly every Android tablet user would have it as their office suite of choice, and they'd start installing it on their PCs too. Which would help prepare the ground for a corporate migration to Droidbooks.

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith