Microsoft Accuses Google Docs of Data Infidelity in Defending Office 2010

Alex Payne, director of Microsoft's online product management team, argues that Google Docs does not enhance Microsoft Office and demonstrates how moving files from Office to Office Web Apps in Office 2010 is preferable to migrating documents from Office to the Google Apps cloud. Google fires back, arguing that the latest refresh of Docs brings better editors that improve data fidelity. Still, Google has quite a fight ahead versus the Microsoft Office cash cow.

Microsoft's online product director May 11 dispelled the notion that Google Docs improves the experience of using Microsoft Office, and demonstrated how moving files created with Office results in the loss of data fidelity.

Google has been pitching migration from Office, which has more than 500 million seats worldwide, to Google Docs, the company's Web-based document, presentation and spreadsheet centerpiece of the Google Apps collaboration software suite.

The company ratcheted up this argument leading up to the launch of Office 2010 in an effort to convince existing Office users not to move from the free Office Web Apps suite of applications geared to replace Google Docs in the cloud.

Matthew Glotzbach, Google enterprise product management director, said May 11 Docs makes Office 2003 and 2007 better because users can store Office documents in Google's cloud and share them in their original format.

Alex Payne, director of Microsoft's online product management team, argued that this was not the case in a blog post and demo video May 11, one day before Microsoft's ballyhooed launch of Office 2010 in New York. "They are claiming that an organization can use both seamlessly," Payne wrote. "This just isn't the case."

Payne explained that converting Office files to be read and edited in Docs results in the loss of such data components as charts, styles, watermarks, fonts, tracked changes and SmartArt.

To prove his point, a Microsoft product manager demonstrated in this video how uploading and converting Office files for the Google Docs cloud results in several lost data components of the document originally created in Office. The file's original watermark, page breaks, SmartArt, chart and columns were missing in action or wrongly rendered in Google Docs.

The official then showed how users can cleanly move Office documents to Office Word Web Apps in Office 2010, a move that left the document's formatting and content nearly identical to its original state.