Microsoft And Google Are At It Again

Microsoft And Google

Microsoft and Google have been at loggerheads for quite some time now. And now this animosity has spread beyond search to the cloud computing space.

Last week Google launched Cloud Connect and hit Microsoft right where it hurts – its Office portfolio. With the Cloud Connect plug-in, users can now go on the cloud with their office files, without having to fire up SharePoint, another Microsoft product. With this single product, Office users get access to simultaneous collaboration, revision history, cloud sync, unique URLs and simple sharing of Office files – Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Suppose a Microsoft Office user desires to share files using the Cloud Connect plug-in, he just has to upload these files into the cloud. The people he shares with don’t need to have Office to view or edit documents – they’ll open up in Google Docs, required. So, how does this help Google?

This is a long-term strategy that Google has adopted. Although this plug-in may not bring in revenues directly, it can prompt people to give Google Apps a closer look, and in the long-term, make the move away from Office. It’s all about getting the competitor’s customers interested in your product, hoping that many will make the switch once they are aware.

As Google Apps Product Manager Shan Sinha put it in a blog post, it was a way of allowing desktop users move beyond their desktops. “Many of you already use Google Docs for editing your documents, but there are still many people that are tied to desktop applications and haven’t experienced the numerous benefits cloud applications can bring,” he wrote.

Of course, Microsoft hasn’t taken kindly to this move by Google to hit its biggest revenue stream. In a statement, it said that this move merely highlighted Office’s popularity, but Google’s products fall far short in functionality. Microsoft hit back hard saying that users of Google Connect stood to lose out on security, functionality, and possibly, data integrity.

Although it’s flattering that Google is acknowledging customer demand for Office, we’re not sure Google’s heart is in the productivity business,” Microsoft said. “Their revenue and market share have been minuscule after four years of trying, and services like Cloud Connect appear to be more targeted at getting your data onto their servers, than helping you get things done.”

This is not the first time Google and Microsoft have crossed swords in the cloud computing arena. In January earlier this year Google had won an injunction against Microsoft in a case involving a coveted Government contract for cloud computing services. Expect this war to continue…

By Sourya Biswas

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