Why Migration from Office to Docs Is Unfaithful

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-05-15 Print this article Print

So what was the difference? Why was Microsoft able to migrate its file data so cleanly to Office Web Apps? Microsoft doesn't have to convert the file when moving it from the on-premises Office suite to Office Web Apps in Office 2010.

"If you have a document that was created in Office and you upload it to our Office Web apps (Excel, Word, PowerPoint and OneNote), the document will look almost identical when you view it in the browser (IE [Internet Explorer], Firefox and Safari) and we maintain the components in the doc even if you don't see them in the Web," Payne wrote.

"This means that a document that shows up back in the rich client Office (after starting there, going to the Web and back) will look just like it did when you started (with full functionality)."

Payne then cautioned users not to move Office applications to the Docs cloud because it could "incur quite a bit of 'cost' to learn this painfully" in the form of lost data and content.

Google meanwhile defended its original "Docs makes Office better" argument in a statement to eWEEK May 13, noting that it has made a lot of improvements to the Web editors in Docs with its April Docs refresh. This on-premises-to-cloud functionality, Google promised, will only get better as Google integrates the DocVerse assets into Docs.

"It says a lot about Microsoft's approach to customer lock-in that the company touts its proprietary document formats, which only Microsoft software can render with true fidelity, as the reason to avoid using other products," a Google spokesperson told eWEEK. "At Google, we have a dedicated team of engineers (they call themselves the Data Liberation Front) who work to make it easy to get your information out of Google products. Of course, the real task for the Docs team is not interoperability with Office, it's to improve team collaboration to increase productivity and reinvent the way people work."

Meanwhile, Office is still king of the productivity suite hill, responsible for much of the approximately $19 billion Microsoft's business software has brought to the company's coffers each year.

Notably, Forrester Research surveyed 115 businesses and found only 4 percent using Google Apps, compared with 81 percent using Office 2007.


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