Google Takes Aim at Excel

The New York Times’s John Markoff on Google Spreadsheets

Stepping up its attack on Microsoft’s core business, Google plans to make available on Tuesday a test version of a Web-based spreadsheet program that is intended to make it simple to edit and share lists and data online.

The company said that the free program, called Google Spreadsheets, would be able to read and create files in the format used by Excel, the Microsoft spreadsheet software that is installed on millions of personal computers.

That it’s (a) free, (b) web-based, and (c) (I’m guessing here, since I haven’t seen it yet, but this seems likely) much simpler than Excel because it will be much smaller than Excel, means that they’re not really attacking Microsoft’s core business as much as they are subverting Microsoft’s core business.

Whereas Microsoft’s plan for striking back at Google is direct: they’re trying to take away search engine traffic, and, more importantly, they’re going to try to take away ad revenue.

Tuesday, 6 June 2006