Today Google announced that they would be launching capabilities to support presentations within the Google Documents & Spreadsheets service. This marks a major inroad into the world of document management and word processing. A ZDnet blog brings more details to the announcement. But what does this mean? For one, Office might not be the top dog for too much longer, in the personal computing field at least. Currently, Microsoft owns 95% of the office productivity market, most of which is dominated by the business market. Corporations are usually much slower to adopt new technologies because of their need to test, harden, and secure most applications. The other reason MS has such a large market is that it's products work well together - windows with office, office with exchange, exchange with Windows Mobile etc. Companies are going to need to branch out and take some risks if they are ever going to get out of the MS strangle hold.
There are many companies starting to test out these new technologies. Many cities and towns are starting to require that documents archive into an open source format. Massachusetts legislatures were among the first to convert to the open source formats - Hamburg, Germany is close to follow. Why are they moving? Well, open source products are earning more and more respect among the consumer and business groups. Google Apps provides an online office suite available free of charge to individuals and schools as well as a more robust premium version for enterprise. Open Office is another open source office suite - desktop based - that utilizes the now common and highly secure Open XML formats. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of Microsoft?
True, Redmond has tried to embrace the XML wave by releasing their Office Open XML format. BUT - this isn't inter operable with other open source document programs. I, for one, feel that there needs to be more testing and proving built into the current open source productivity suites so that corporations will find more confidence in these solutions. By bringing more money and time into these technologies, the very solutions we're working to improve will develop incredibly fast.
No matter what productivity platform you choose to use, I suggest everyone look into the open source solutions because they are making up more and more ground on currently available private software (Read as MS Office Suite). Check it out - GO OPEN!!