Should Microsoft Be Scared?
A report from Nielsen//NetRatings this week found that Google Docs and Spreadsheets is leading the market in the online productivity tools space - which so far isn't saying much, given how these Web-based programs are still in their infancy.
From October to December, the number of unique visitors remained mostly flat, somewhere around 425,000 to 445,000 unique vistors who spent between 10-15 minutes at each site. Again, nothing that indicates huge usage. And I suspect that the 10-15 minutes is spent exploring the tools or testing the program to see if it's really compatible with Microsoft's Word or Excel
This alone might not qualify as a huge milestone in the competition between Google and Microsoft. But Google Docs and Spreadsheets are FREE programs - and with Office 2007 just released for around $150 (or perhaps less if you bargain shop it) - free is probably part of its appeal.
The report notes that Google Docs users to date are in a higher-income bracket - an estimated 28 percent of them earning more than $100,000 annually. This means people who can afford to buy Microsoft's Office products and yet they're willing to give Google's free program a shot. So then what happens when cash-strapped college students, schools, and families discover these online programs? I bet there's a team of people over in Redmond who are very much thinking about the future.
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