In 2010, Microsoft made its biggest jab at the search giant’s platform with their own online suite, Office Web Apps. Web Apps provided a feature-lite version of their popular document software, and the service was free for users with a Microsoft Live account (which is also free).
Microsoft’s version of online document editors maintained the selling points of traditional Office; robust features, lots of format compatibility, and the most accurate online conversion of Office documents. Google however still led the chase with real time co-authoring and a simple and sleek look. Their jump start in the arena also netted them four million businesses already using their document solution.
As late as September of this year, both sides continue the battle. Microsoft released a large update that fixed many performance issues and added a handful of new features. Google continues to offer updates with much of the same. And as each update is rolled out each side makes statements to computer blogs and magazines pointing out the weaknesses of the competing product.
Statements from both sides show that they are keenly aware of the deficiencies of the other. From this, we can also assume that both are aware of their own faults and are feverishly working to make their platform stronger.
Who will win this online battle? Will Google continue to dominate the online world and slowly grab users from traditional offline software or will Microsoft’s Web Apps add real-time sharing quicker than Google thinks to establish it as the better option. Time will tell.
Frank Anderson is a technology writer who gained his expertise with the virtual web hosting and cloud computing company WebHosting.net.