This should be fun to watch: two industry giants will slug it out, trying to dominate one of the most profitable segments of Microsoft's catalog of applications.
Yesterday, Google announced that it is acquiring Quickoffice, an office suite of programs (word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation programs) that run on iPhones, iPad, Android, Android tablets, and Symbian devices. Google already has a complementary product, called Google Docs, that is cloud-based and runs on almost any computer, including Windows and Macintosh. Adding Quickoffice gives Google a quick addition of non-cloud applications. I am guessing that Quickoffice can also easily be ported to Windows and Macintosh, although that is not available today.
Microsoft makes millions of dollars of profit from the sales of Microsoft Office and the encroachment by Google Docs has already hurt Microsoft financially. Google Docs is free to individual users and also is available at very low prices to corporations. It's tough for Microsoft to sell an office suite for $120 or more when its biggest competitor has a similar product that is free or almost free. Now the addition of Quickoffice should provide even more competition for Microsoft.
NOTE: Google has not yet announced the pricing for Quickoffice. The previous owners have been selling Quickoffice for free to $19.99, depending upon the version being purchased. Google could easily change those prices, although it is doubtful that Google will raise the prices.
To be sure, Microsoft is already preparing Office 15 (also known as Office 2013). Add this to the soon-to-be-released Windows 8 for desktop, laptop, and Windows Tablet computers. Microsoft should be able to upgrade most of its present customers, gaining millions in sales. However, a strong new competitive product could significantly reduce the sales of Office 15, even if Windows 8 does sell well. While sales to private individuals are important to Microsoft's bottom line, the bulk of the profits come from sales to large corporations.
Some analysts believe that Office, and not Windows, has become the lead cash cow at Microsoft. In contrast, Google has millions (or billions?) of dollars to spend in product development and in advertising.
Microsoft Office has become "bloated" over the years as Microsoft has tried to add in every conceivable option and feature. The office suite runs slowly on all but the most powerful computers. In contrast, Quickoffice is highly regarded as a "lean and mean" product that runs quickly, even on low-powered handheld devices.
Microsoft still has one sales ploy that Google cannot touch: Microsoft can offer bundle deals to computer manufacturers to pre-load both Windows 8 and Office 15 on all new computers sold. I am sure Microsoft will do exactly that. I am guessing that Microsoft will sell a lot of copies of Office 15, regardless of what Google does. However, Microsoft needs to do more than sell "a lot of copies" in order to turn a profit; it needs to totally dominate the marketplace, as it has done in the past. That may be more difficult with a strong new competitor selling a similar product at much lower prices.
This should be fun to watch.
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