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Five Reasons Google Docs Beats Office Live Workspace

Office Live Workspace is a patched together, too little, too late offering compared to Google Docs.

Five Reasons Google Docs Beats Office Live Workspace

1. Office Live Workspace Does Not Allow You To Create And Edit Documents Within A Web Page. Google Docs Does.

First and foremost, Office Live Workspace will not allow you to create and edit documents within a Web page. With Google Docs, you can easily create documents and edit them and even upload current Microsoft Word documents.

Just like all things related to Microsoft's Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) strategy, Office Live Workspace is a patched together, too little, too late offering compared to Google Docs. Question for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: when will Microsoft deliver a SaaS offering that the channel can take advantage of that beats Google hands down? Right now the Google Docs environment is a great choice for VARs looking to build a pure Web 2.0 environment for small businesses and even entrepreneurial enterprise units looking to operate out of the purview of Big Brother IT. New fleet of foot businesses do not want to be hobbled by DOS 1.0 Microsoft view of the world. The biggest advantage Google has is that it does not bring all the excess legacy bloat and excess that comes with Microsoft Office.

2. Microsoft Office Live Workspace Has A 250 Mbyte 1,000 Average Office Documents Limitation. Google Docs Does Not.

Why does Microsoft insist on hobbling its SaaS offerings with technical limitations, while Google does everything in its power to provide an open-ended, flexible and easy to use Web 2.0 environment? Probably just one more example of the countless petty internal internecine battles that are keeping Microsoft from being a true Web 2.0 juggernaut.

The question is what happens when a business hits the 250 Mbyte 1,000 plus document limit? Note to Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie regarding the 250 Mbyte limit: is this the message that you really want to send to Web 2.0-savvy VARs looking to build a complete, end-to-end online presence for entrepreneurial businesses? Don't worry, start uploading those documents. We'll deal with that 250 Mbyte limitation when we get there. Yeah right.

3. Microsoft's Office Live WorkSpace Is VaporWare. Google Docs is Real.

That's right. You read it right. Microsoft has once again countered a real LIVE product with a Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) Marketing Missive. That's right, you can set up your small business clients with Google Docs right now. No problem. You can sign up for Microsoft Office Live Workspace's preregistration list and even then you're not guaranteed access to the beta because Microsoft is limiting the beta release to what it calls a "limited number of people."

Limited indeed. That's Microsoft's motto when it comes to competing against Google and protecting its hefty annual software licensing revenue stream from Office and its other packaged hard wired products. What the limited means is that Microsoft has even managed to dilute the once grand beta process by vetting names so they can see how many Google employees or other competitors are signing up for the service and then refuse them to play in the Microsoft beta sandbox.

Next: Who Do You Trust?


4. You're Better Off Trusting Google Than Microsoft When It Comes To Web 2.0 Security Issues.

So you've got the two biggest monopolies in the world battling it out in a SaaS environment. Who do you trust? All things being equal, Google given its experience protecting all things Web 2.0, including its massive search engine bsuiness. Microsoft says the Office Live Workspace files will have the benefit of "virus protection from Microsoft Forefront Client Security technology, and they can only be accessed with a Windows Live ID and password."

There's a lot at stake for businesses putting their documents and data at the Web, what VARs have got to ask themselves is who has more experience protecting a large data center hosted environment? For my money, the answer is Google.

5. Office Live Workspace Is Optmized For Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint Data. Google Is Optimized For Web 2.0.

So just what kind of surprises does Microsoft have in store when VARs try to upload Google Docs-created documents or Open Office documents? There is no way of telling right now just how Office Live Workspace will test in heterogenous environments with lots of Google Docs and Linux Open Office documents and data. But given Microsoft's history when it comes to developing software there are likely to be let's just say some issues related to using data from competitive Office suites.

Microsoft, by the way, is going out of its way to emphasize that Office Live Workspace will be "optimized" for all Office users from Office 97 to Office 2007 on Windows as well as Mac versions of Office. Optimizing for Office once again means that those VARs looking for that true Web 2.0 experience with no limitations are better served choosing Google Docs.

Mario Morejon contributed to this article.

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