Google gets QuickOffice – keeps the Office game alive

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Google buys QuickOffice in an effort to keep up with Microsoft’s move into tablets with Office.

Google has announced the purchase of QuickOffice for the traditional amount in these situations ie ‘undisclosed’.

To understand why, you need a summary of the three main players.

QuickOffice has a set of well regarded apps that let you view and edit Microsoft Office documents – they have versions for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. At the moment, QuickOffice is one of the few options for mobile users wanting to handle their MS Office documents.

Microsoft is looming with the next Office (’15’) being available on Windows 8 tablets as well as traditional PC’s and laptops. There’s talk of MS Office for iPad, which might be true or a rumor from Redmond to put off competitors.

Microsoft jealously guards it’s share of the Office market and will do what it must to keep people buying their product.

Whatever Microsoft does, there’s a noticeable gap in the market for Office documents editing for Apple and Android devices. Individuals and businesses want to view and edit their Microsoft Office documents easily, and none of the existing solutions do that very well.

Google has Google Docs which let you edit documents, worksheets and presentations online. You have to convert MS Office documents to and fro but it’s free. But Google has no mobile device apps to complement Google Docs.

Google also has deep pockets so it makes sense for them to buy QuickOffice and work fast to incorporate the apps into the Google Docs system. They will want to release something before Microsoft gets all the attention for Microsoft Office on their Windows 8 tablets.

The QuickOffice purchase gives Google one big advantage, they now have an Android application. All Microsoft’s attention seems to be on iPad and iPhone even though Android phones are getting an increasing slice of the growing market.

You can only hope that Google will improve their Microsoft Office document conversion system. The present conversion both ways is clumsy and time-consuming. They’d have more chance of getting market share if they allowed Office documents to be edited directly.

Google Drive needs better offline file selection and access so the files you need are available whether you’re offline or online.

Whatever happens, the last half of 2012 is going to be interesting. A new Microsoft Office and a new MS Office on a tablet platform plus Google Docs on more mobile devices.

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