Has Microsoft Lost Its Mojo?

by Preston Gralla

Google's release today of a free Web-available spreadsheet, complete with collaboration, shows that when it comes to innovation, it seems to be all about Google these days, and not about Microsoft. It's taking MIcrosoft at least five years to get Vista out the door, while Google churns out innovative app after innovative app in what seems to be real-time.


2006-06-06 06:52:18
I agree that, in some respects, Microsoft has lost it. (Visual Studio 2005 is a pretty neat beast, though.)

But I don't think this is a good example of why. Not all software works well as a service, and I think this falls into that camp.

Why would I want to use this? What if I want to work on disconnected machine, or want to run my laptop with the WiFi turned off so I have a battery life longer than a pre-schooler's attention span? What if I want to work and don't have internet access, what do I use then? Oh yea, the $350 package I ended up paying for anyway.

More to the point, I don't trust a faceless third party with the kind of data that frequently goes into a spreadsheet. If companies started using something like that, it makes corporate espionage a whole new ball game.

Microsoft needs to do something radical, like throwing out the Windows base and porting the Win32 API onto a BSD core or something like that. Won't ever happen; MS seems to be suffering from the "not invented here" mentality (note the file formats announced to compete with PDF and JPEG) and that more than anything else is dragging them down.

Adrian Sutton
2006-06-06 14:17:24
To be fair, Google aren't churning out app after app, they're buying company after company. This is exactly the growth strategy that Microsoft used for quite some time (and still does to an extent). It seems that Google is just better at finding and buying small companies with cool technology.
Jeroen Wenting
2006-06-07 04:02:14
So Google aping Microsoft and creating a spreadsheet means that Microsoft has lost it and Google is innovative?
Only "new" thing is that it's a webapplication (and there too they're AFAIK not the first), not what I'd call a good platform for a business application.

Having all your data subject to Google's spying and marketing analysis also isn't something I'd like to advise to customers.
That of course means that the thing isn't free. The price of using it is handing over all your data to Google, which to Google is worth more than a few hundred dollars in license and distribution fees.

And as others have already said, Google doesn't make those things, they buy startups that have almost completed them and get into financial trouble, then spends a few weeks or months replacing every instance of the original name with GoogleXXXXX before releasing it.

I can still remember people complaining btw that Microsoft had too fast a release cycle. Now that they're slowing it down you're complaining that they're not releasing often enough? Can't have it both ways...

Simon Hibbs
2006-06-07 04:21:00
I can't see this offering anything more than nominal competition to Office 12. No corporation, or even medium sized company is going to adopt Google as their spreadsheet standard. Mom and Pop in the corner shop might, but that's about it for commercial use. On the other hand the hobby, club and webapp hacking community is going to love this. If you want to publish numeric or just tabular data on the web, this is great. I think this will open up new and innovative uses, but likely won't have much effect on the MS Office market.

Google realy isn't particularly choosing to compete with Microsoft, it's Microsoft that seems to be choosing to compete with Google.

Ian Darwin
2006-06-07 14:20:00
So why would I want to use this "free" service that will run on a server who knows where and be viewable by who knows how many people at Google? If I want a free spreadsheet (and free Word Processor, and free slide show and database), I'd go with OpenOffice (www.openoffice.org) - it can read and write files in the same format as the expensive packages, but I have the files on my computer where I can share them with colleagues, without having to wait for a server I have no control over. I just don't see the "value proposition" here.
2006-06-08 07:20:43
lost it? you come to that judgement because google has previewed an online spreadsheet? MS gets most of its office business from enterprise users. Google will have to work a lot harder to win those company businesses.
2006-06-08 23:05:21
Google obviously has better developer mindshare now, but I am not convinced that Google is winning in every thing they do.