Google Slams Microsoft Claims Over Online Office Tools

Dennis Faas's picture

Google has dismissed Microsoft's claims that Google Docs is a failure, and says to use that the argument simply highlights Microsoft's proprietary tactics.

The dispute comes as both sides step up their online cloud computing battle. Microsoft is in the midst of releasing its free online-only edition of its forthcoming Office 2010. Meanwhile, Google already has online document editing via its Google Docs service (plus the paid professional version Google Apps), and is heavily promoting that as an alternative to Office 2010.

Microsoft: Google Docs Falls Short

Indeed, it even said using Google Docs was a better alternative than the more widely-used Office software from industry giant Microsoft.

Microsoft rejected that argument, stating that whenever an Office document is opened in Google Docs, it converts the file format and that this can remove important components. Microsoft's Alex Payne states that "Charts, styles, watermarks, fonts, tracked changes, SmartArt, etc... might be... manipulated in a way resulting in something that doesn't look like it did before conversion."

Payne also went on to say that any Office document opened online will look almost identical the real MS Office, as if it were used locally. (Source:

Google: Microsoft Claims Exaggerated

According to Google, however, that's an exaggeration. It says its Docs program does a capable job of opening Office documents without losing any important information.

In an email sent out to tech sites, Google argued that "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." (Source:

Google May Soon Emulate the Competition

The issue might soon become irrelevant, anyway. In March, Google bought the company behind DocVerse, a tool which acts as a plug-in for Word, Excel and PowerPoint and allows collaboration both on and offline. Whenever a user saves changes on their computer, it automatically updates a master copy stored online, meaning colleagues can immediately see the changes and work on the latest version from their own machine.

Google says it plans to integrate this into Google Apps soon, though it's not known if it will be in Google Docs as well.

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