Microsoft vs. Google: Office Showdown

Dennis Faas's picture

For many years now, Microsoft Office has had the market cornered on word processing and spreadsheet software. And with such a stranglehold in place by Microsoft, tech analysts made sure to pay attention when Google recently countered with its own set of word processing and spreadsheet utilities.

The difference, of course, is that Google's offering -- officially called Google Docs & Spreadsheets -- is web-based and free.

Microsoft's reaction: nonchalance.

To be more specific, Antoine LeBlond (co-leader of the Microsoft Office group) dismissively told Reuters that Google is just the latest in a long line of companies that have tried to challenge Microsoft's dominance in the workplace.

LeBlond also stated that he doesn't see Google's word processing and spreadsheet service appealing to corporate customers.

But what about the rest of us who use them at home?

We're a non-issue, according to the Microsoft Office co-leader: "The simple argument that 'this is good enough for 90 percent of what we do' has fallen on its face over and over and over again," LeBlond said to Reuters. "When it comes to mission critical things and key pieces of how people run their businesses, the threshold is higher."

Meanwhile, Google insists that it isn't even trying to compete with Microsoft. Users can even upload Word documents to Google Docs & Spreadsheets. (Source:

Instead, the search engine giant is going after consumers and small-business users. The question remains, however won't some of the big companies Microsoft is targeting going to be enticed by Google's no-cost alternative to Office? After all, every business (big or small) shares the same main goal: to make a profit.

LeBlond shrugs off that argument as well. "Free software has an appealing ring to it, but free software has been around for a while now, and it turns out free doesn't trump the software doing what people need it to do," he pointed out. (Source:

His argument does have a ring of validity to it. has offered a free downloadable alternative to Microsoft Office for many years now, and offers a service similar to Google's.

To test out Google Docs & Spreadsheets for yourself, click here:

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