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Microsoft Disputes Google's Claim That Office 2010 Lacks Collaboration

Andrew R. Hickey
Google's claims that Office 2010 and Web Apps lack the cloud-based collaboration capabilities Google

"Microsoft delivers the best productivity experience and we have the results to prove it," Tracy Overby, senior marketing manager for Microsoft's Office Product Management Group, said in an e-mail to CRN. "After more than a decade of delivering collaboration solutions, our customers trust us to meet their business needs."

But Google contends that Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft's updated productivity application suite, and Web Apps, the cloud-based components of Office that features cloud versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, offer only limited real-time collaboration capabilities in the cloud. Most collaborative functions, Google said, are only available via the desktop versions of Office 2010 applications.

"Both Microsoft and Google agree that collaboration is the cornerstone of 2010. [With Google Docs] you get real-time collaboration that’s simple to deploy at a very low cost," Chris Vander Mey, senior product manager of Google Apps for Enterprise, said in an interview. "I don't think you get any of that with Office 2010. You don't get low cost. It's not easy to deploy. And you don’t get real-time collaboration."

Microsoft, however, disagreed, highlighting some of the "co-authoring" capabilities of Office 2010, but stopped short of highlighting its collaborative features.

"Office 2010 brings co-authoring capabilities to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote," Overby wrote. "For the initial iteration of the Office Web Apps, OneNote and Excel are the two applications that were prioritized for co-authoring capability based on strong customer feedback that these are scenarios where web-based collaboration is needed the most."

"Through Office Web apps, the Outlook Social Connector, Office Mobile, SharePoint Intranet Sites and SharePoint Communities, we help people connect and collaborate with each other regardless of location," Overby continued. "The Office 2010 represents a significant leap forward, a fact that the 8.6 million users who have downloaded the beta agree with."

Google also took issue with Microsoft Office 2010's pricing, noting that Google Apps Enterprise Edition runs $50 per user per year and includes Google Docs, while Google said Office Professional 2010 runs $499, but there are a host of other added costs like SharePoint 2010 software, client access licenses and other hardware. Vander Mey called Office 2010 costs "complicated" and "obtuse."

Microsoft on Tuesday wouldn’t disclose the pricing for business customers of Office 2010, noting that each Enterprise Agreement is different, but said Office Business 2010 runs $199, while Office Professional runs $349 to $499.

The back and forth between Google and Microsoft comes as the two tech powerhouses battle in the cloud. Google was first to fire, calling into question Office 2010's collaborative capabilities and urging Office 2007 users to upgrade to Google Apps and Google Docs instead of Office 2010. Google also highlighted its acquisition of DocVerse, a plug-in that enables Web-based collaboration within Microsoft Office desktop applications.

Meanwhile, Microsoft dismissed Google's claims that it can seamlessly integrate Microsoft Office documents with Google Docs.

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