The news from Google that they have released Quickoffice, their Microsoft Office competitor, for free immediately gave me my headline for this post.
[…] With Quickoffice, you can edit Microsoft® Office documents across your devices, giving you the freedom to work with anyone no matter what hardware or software they’re using. Quickoffice also integrates seamlessly with Google Drive storage so you can safely access your files from anywhere.
Not everyone agrees with my cart metaphor.
On Twitter, for instance, Stuart Bruce says “However, just [the] ability to edit isn’t [the] same as actual Office app. I’ll compare Quickoffice on Android tablet v Office on Surface.”
Agreed, Stuart. But all I really want is the ability to, say, edit a PowerPoint presentation I made on my Windows computer that I’m about to use at an event when all I have is my Android tablet. ‘Edit with confidence’ is the key phrase.
From a quick use-tour of Quickoffice last night on the tablet and an Android smartphone, I have the confidence that a) formatting is good and b) the file I save in Quickoffice still opens fine in PowerPoint itself.
Of course, much will depend on the complexity of the deck, eg, fonts, animations, transitions, etc. Probably a similar risk to opening a PowerPoint deck in Open Office – the simpler the original file, the higher the confidence.
On Google+, James Cridland says, “But I can create and edit files that are readable with Microsoft Office with Google Drive, can’t I? Confusing.”
Agreed, James, a bit. I would expect community clarity on that point soon.
I think Microsoft missed a huge opportunity here to ensure the continuity of their major software platform apart from Windows itself on mobile that is at the heart of the post-PC era.
Imagine if they had developed Microsoft Office for mobile and given it away for free. I’d be right there to grab it as everything I do on the desktop is with Office software. I don’t want to switch to, say, Google Docs; a version of Office that I can use across my mobile devices as well would almost certainly keep me in Microsoft’s camp for years to come.
And did I mention it’s free?