Saturday, May 20, 2006

Apple needs to back web-based office apps

Here I go disagreeing with Robert Cringely again.

He writes in a recent "pulpit" edition that Apple needs to develop their own competitor to Office so Microsoft can no longer boss them around. I had previously commented on Cyberdog's suggestion that Apple had introduced BootCamp to break MS Office's power over OS X.

What Cringely is apparently oblivious to is the existence of web-based office replacements such as Group Office (GPL) and ThinkFree Office (proprietary). ThinkFree in particular constitutes a fairly faithful and fully compatible clone of MS Office. However, when I last checked, it was capable neither of executing VBA macros nor of performing statistical calculations, not to mention having citation functionality that usually comes on the form of EndNote.

Great as Pages and Keynote may be from a user interface and eye candy perspective, if Apple were to invest in one of these web-based office solutions to supplement the missing features, they'd catch Microsoft up in no time, at smaller effort.

Update 28/05/2006: I'm not the only one to find Cringely occasionally flakey. Daniel Eran also has a few chickens to pluck with the controversial man. Let's see if I can take on Eran next ;)

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