Microsoft is set to further extend its dominance in the office applications market tomorrow with the launch of Office 2010, which could boost its online capabilities with the addition of Office Web Apps (OWA).
The competition between Google Apps and Microsoft Office has often been portrayed as a battle, but analysts believe that the rivalry has yet to pose a significant threat to Microsoft.
OWA comprises versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that can be accessed via a browser. The offering crucially strengthens Microsoft's position against the Google Apps suite, which until now has had something of a stranglehold on the online apps market.
Google claimed recently that it has 25 million Google Apps customers. The firm attempted to make its offering more appealing last week by announcing that, from this Autumn, many Google services, such as Picasa Web Albums and Google Reader, will be available from the Google Apps suite to save customers having to switch back and forth between multiple accounts.
But analysts have suggested that Google will have do a lot more to challenge Microsoft.
The facts back this argument. A recent survey by Forrester of 115 US and European enterprises found that Microsoft Office 2007 is supported by 81 per cent of organisations, while Google Premier Apps is supported by only four per cent. OpenOffice is supported by 10 per cent.
Forrester also asked enterprises about the role that alternative productivity tools are likely to play in the future of their company. Some 57 per cent said that they would provision complementary applications alongside Microsoft Office, but 13 per cent have no plans to introduce Microsoft Office alternatives.
Nearly half of respondents would deploy specialised applications to meet specific business needs, while only a quarter would replace Microsoft Office applications with alternatives to reduce licensing costs.
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