Microsoft: Google Docs claims “simply not true”

Microsoft has hit back at Google’s claim that Docs makes Office better, calling the statement “simply not true”.

Microsoft: Google Docs claims

Earlier in the week, Google Enterprise president Dave Girouard urged businesses to skip the Office 2010 upgrade, and consider running Docs alongside their existing Office suite.

“Most people find, and they maybe perhaps don’t expect it at first, that Google Docs works quite well with Office and in fact it makes Office better,” he said.

It (Google) is claiming that an organisation can use both seamlessly. This just isn’t the case

The argument has clearly rankled in Redmond, and in a lengthy response on the TechNet blog, Microsoft’s director of online product management, Alex Payne, argued that businesses which believed the argument would swiftly learn a “painful” lesson.

“It [Google] is claiming that an organisation can use both seamlessly. This just isn’t the case,” he said. “Charts, styles, watermarks, fonts, tracked changes, SmartArt etc. might be gone or manipulated in a way resulting in something that doesn’t look like it did before conversion [from Office to Docs],” Payne said.

“When that file was originally converted from Office to Google Docs, you lost those components,” he said. “They aren’t coming back just because you are in Office again.”

Document fidelity

In contrast, Payne argued that Microsoft had worked to ensure that users converting documents between its mobile, desktop and online suites wouldn’t have to worry about losing features.

“If you have a document that was created in Office and you upload it to our Office Web Apps, the document will look almost identical when you view it in the browser and we maintain the components in the doc even if you don’t see them in the web,” he said.

“This means that a document that shows up back in the rich client Office (after starting there, going to the web and back) will look just like it did when you started (with full functionality). We call this ’round-tripping’ and we think it’s important. Google Docs simply doesn’t do this when you use it with Office,” he concluded.

Office 2010 is currently being rolled out to businesses, and will hit retail on 15 June.

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