The Case for Ditching Microsoft Office

We’re in a recession right now; so, who wants to spend $500 on software? According to Time magazine, many companies and individual consumers still opt for costly software like Microsoft Office, though they rarely or never utilize all of the functions provided. An alternative to software, however, is making its way into the mainstream: web-based software.

Two notable providers of online software are Google Apps and Zoho, both of which offer downloadable word processors, spreadsheets, document management and presentation tools (among other things) that emulate the applications of Microsoft Office. And the best part about web-based software is that it’s completely free. Most of us are used to MS Office—that’s why we keep coming back. I, for one, have downloaded a 90-day free trial of MS Office 2007 on my home computer, which allows me to use the most up-to-date software without spending a dime. Of course, if you opt to use a free trial, you must also remember to check the box that will prompt you to buy the software once your trial expires, instead of the one that will automatically renew your software and charge you.

But there are also advantages to browser-based applications. “Because the applications reside on the Web, developers can quickly eliminated bugs and add bells and whistles, like the ability to insert headers, footers and pagination…” writes Anna Hamilton (Time). Riding the trend train, Microsoft is expected to put out a free, light version of its software on the Web by 2010. It’s a long way off. When my MS Office free trial ends in January, I’m not planning on renewing my software. At least until Microsoft puts its apps online, we can utilize Google Apps and Zoho without hesitation.

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3 of 3 Comments see all

  1. Dave Motheral

    Also very cool is Zimbra for email. It is an Ajax-based client. Also works with Blackberry, iPhone etc. Much cheaper than hosted Outlook, but a little more comparable than using Gmail (though also a good option).

  2. K. Valentine

    Jen:

    I agree with the above comment. My favorite advantage is accessing files from any internet capable device. It allows users to update their documents (like spreadsheets) on the go and more frequently so you don’t always have to remember what it was you needed to log.

    I’ve noticed to in my field of data management, there is a trend towards web-based appilcations. With a whole school district’s worth of data, performance is faster on the web, uploading data takes no time, and again I can access it from any computer with internet. There’s just no advantage anymore for us to use software on an individual computer.

    Great blog entry 🙂

    Kevin

  3. Rodrigo Vaca

    Jen –

    Thanks for the note. The Zoho team happens to agree with your thinking!

    But let’s not forget that working on the web has many other benefits for businesses other than the speed of new features and lower cost. It also has the following advantages

    Access files anywhere
    Easier sharing and collaboration of files with colleagues.
    Better security – well, web software vendors can afford better security than what most business can do. Besides, when you put files on your laptop you are risking them.
    Easier integration.

    Finally – web software is not only for productivity software (word processor, spreadsheet, etc). The same rationale applies to most business software products.

    Rodrigo
    http://www.Zoho.com

3 Comments

  1. Rodrigo Vaca

    Jen –

    Thanks for the note. The Zoho team happens to agree with your thinking!

    But let’s not forget that working on the web has many other benefits for businesses other than the speed of new features and lower cost. It also has the following advantages

    Access files anywhere
    Easier sharing and collaboration of files with colleagues.
    Better security – well, web software vendors can afford better security than what most business can do. Besides, when you put files on your laptop you are risking them.
    Easier integration.

    Finally – web software is not only for productivity software (word processor, spreadsheet, etc). The same rationale applies to most business software products.

    Rodrigo
    http://www.Zoho.com

  2. K. Valentine

    Jen:

    I agree with the above comment. My favorite advantage is accessing files from any internet capable device. It allows users to update their documents (like spreadsheets) on the go and more frequently so you don’t always have to remember what it was you needed to log.

    I’ve noticed to in my field of data management, there is a trend towards web-based appilcations. With a whole school district’s worth of data, performance is faster on the web, uploading data takes no time, and again I can access it from any computer with internet. There’s just no advantage anymore for us to use software on an individual computer.

    Great blog entry 🙂

    Kevin

  3. Dave Motheral

    Also very cool is Zimbra for email. It is an Ajax-based client. Also works with Blackberry, iPhone etc. Much cheaper than hosted Outlook, but a little more comparable than using Gmail (though also a good option).