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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Non-Microsoft Office? A No-Brainer, Methinks

John wonders why Google would want to "directly poke Microsoft in the eye" by teaming up with Sun on a software alliance that would offer Java-based products competing with Microsoft Office.

As enthusiasts, we've been yakking about the notion of a Java-based alternative portable office suite since we founded this site in 1999. But as a business owner it becomes even more obvious what the benefit is. The phrase "free productivity suite" fairly jumps out at you when you analyze the benefit to your bottom line that might be coming as Microsoft's monopoly erodes. Nothing in life is free, but a 75% price drop in cost in this sector would be huge.

Why would Google want to help users lower their computing costs? Is that a poke in Microsoft's eye? Hasn't Microsoft been poking us all in the eye for too long?

As to why this makes Google money, or whether it will awake a sleeping giant, it's clear the sleeping giant has been awake for some time, trying to stomp on Google. Google's no longer tiptoeing around, it's trying to weaken the giant by lacing its main meal of the day with something toxic -- in this case, the toxicity of price competition.

Microsoft had a monopoly, which is why they could charge so much for Office.

It's not clear how any of this benefits Google, but it's clear that it will benefit the marketplace. And isn't it all about fighting evil, "and the money will come"?

The giant isn't dead. His software led to huge gains in global productivity, for a time. But he'll have to cut prices if he wants to live.

Major changes are coming. They stem from one thing: money. And the ability of a monopolist to extract too much of it from customers... but not for much longer.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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