back to article Bill Gates chuckles at Google Apps

Bill Gates has no respect for Google Apps. Speaking yesterday at a Sharepoint conference up Redmond way, the lame duck Microsoft chairman told loyal Microsoftees that Eric Schmidt and company "really don't understand the special needs of business." So we learn from Todd Bishop's Microsoft Blog. The Googlies, Gates said, …

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Flame

2 be or not 2 be productive

Microsoft's rallying call has always been personal productivity.

In business, who cares about personal productivity? Nobody, that's who. Business is all about team productivity a.k.a. collaboration. A shite word processor with which several people can realistically work on the same document at the same time is way more productive than a full bells and whistles word processor which allows Joe Bloggs to be productive with himself in the corner.

The greatest testament to the failure of personal productivity tools is the proliferation of completely crap PowerPoint (tm) presentations that most of us have had the ill fortune to sit through.

As far as business goes, collaboration is king. Sharepoint is a woefully inadequate solution. Whether it's Google or whoever, the trick to collaboration is Keep It Simple Stupid. This has never been one of Microsoft's strong points.

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Sharepoint...

....hmmm. Thats what we use at work and every damned time I open a document from it the sodding thing warns me that "opening this document could damage your computer" or some other trite pile of crap. Also I'm sick and fed up of when I come to save documents I get a mysterious message along the lines of "I can't save this document because it doesn't exist".

So Bill - laugh at other people when your own crap works OK?

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I forget

I forget that idea that microsoft had, you know, the one that wasn't a direct rip off of something else, or that they had to buy out.

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Heart

Picassa anyone?

OK it may be a bit dated now but when it arrived via courtesy of Google it was (and can still be) very, very useful.

Interim conclusion:

Gauging public demand is sorta important and does not really matter on the vendors name.

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Anonymous Coward

What's that smell?

It's the smell of fear. He doesn't diss what he isn't worried about.

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Gates Halo

Beta

Most of googles apps including gmail are still in beta! Some could argue Microsofts are as well....

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Gates Halo

Bill Gates' Thoughts on Google Apps

You can go to soapbox.msn.com and do a search on spc2008 and you will see the video

http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?vid=47a71434-6a20-4e5d-bb6d-b83a4c11f161

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Gates Halo

Billy G

@Dr Who - Whens the last time you used a text document simultaneously as a team, I for one have never done so and never will. I edit it pass it on to someone else checking... simple as. google apps are absolutely, abysmally shite, if any other company but google released this as a product it would be shot to the ground.. it's only saving grace is it's free.

A piece of shite software for tramps.... go google.

Bill is right, real business needs real software, any company that uses google apps is heading down the bog even google don't use google apps.

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Collaborating tools

Hm... I'd say Lotus Notes would be the closest I've seen able to do anything near "collaboration".

And I'm also annoyed by PowerPoint presentations, my 16 year old HyperCard presentations were better than that... and I made 'em at age 10!!! Plus chain-mailers now use it as a "de facto" chainmail standard. This is the main reason I no longer bother with chain-mails ... (or "forwards" as they are known over here)

As for Google Apps, I give my opinion on that: "Don't send a web browser to do a native OS program job" ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Export Outlook Contacts to Google Gmail . . .

Here's a really handy article from microsoft.com explaining how to move from Exchange to GMail ...entitled "Export Outlook Contacts to Google Gmail"

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HA011489021033.aspx

Seems SOME customers do like Google apps, otherwise why would Microsoft have this article???

I switched my domain to Google Apps from msn live because

(i) It worked better: it supported catch-all email accounts and MSN live didn't. Gmail is a better email client than MSN live.

(ii) It had APIs that I can call to create calendar entries, read the calendar, update spreadsheets dynamically from other systems, ... and it took a lot less time to figure out how to do that than it would to hookup Excel, OLE, DCOM, Sharepoint to do the same!

(iii) It works great going back and forth between multiple PCs, laptops and a Mac.

(iv) In actual usage it turns out the anywhere access is more important to me than a million features and options I never use in Excel or Word.

(v) And even though Gmail provides IMAP sync to Outlook I have now stopped using Outlook entirely because the 'thread' / 'archive' / 'search' model in Gmail is simply better than the 'single mail item' / 'folders' / 'search indexer aka greedy memory hog' model.

(vi) Google updates their software more often.

Try it seriously for a week or more before you diss it, Bill; your customers are, and many of them prefer an always-there (except on the plane), collaborative, no-reboot-required, no stupid 'someone-clicked-this-button-do-you-want-to-let-them-do-it' computing experience.

PS Remember Netdocs?

PPS Have you noticed how smart GTalk is when it wants your attention - unlike the Windows 'reboot now?' dialog that has stolen more of my keystrokes than I care to count! Why can't Windows own developers learn how to call LASTINPUTINFO to make their software more polite? Hint1: If lastinputinfo is a long time ago I'm not here. Hint2: If lastinputinfo is <1s ago I am here and I'm busy. Neither is a good time to pop up a modal dialog and steal focus!

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Ian

What are all the documents for?

``any company that uses google apps is heading down the bog''

Walking into any office today, you see desks from wall to wall occupied by people typing. Occasionally they hold meetings or use the phone. Most of the time they type.

Thirty years ago, perhaps ten percent of the workforce, if that, would have been an audio- or shorthand-typing pool. The rest would have held meetings, taken decisions, done real work. And gone home at 5pm.

Now they all type. And go home to a laptop and a blackberry, on which they type until they fall asleep.

Do you believe the problem is that the tools they are using to type aren't sharp enough? That they can't type quickly enough (because most of them type very badly, it has to be said)?

Or is the problem that they're typing at all? That what were once hand-written memos, taking a few seconds, are now beautifully produced multi-font structured documents with indexes and branded headings? That people seriously --- indeed, I was flamed on Slashdot for claiming otherwise --- believe that the formatting of internal documents has business value?

We've replaced thinking about business with thinking about word processing. The very idea that the brand of word-processing software affects the value of the work done with it is laughable. The competition isn't about Arial vs Helvetica or Calibri vs Frutiger; the competition is between profitable and not profitable. And pissing around all day with word processing of internal documents is Not Profitable.

A company that uses Google Apps just saved a few hundred pounds per employee, and reduced the turnover of computing equipment. What's the downside?

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distributed offices

Actually I use google apps heavily.

I do contracting for a couple of businesses who have staff working from all over Australia, having working documents with a single reference copy makes our lives much easier than flicking different versions all over the place, parts of work get completed or updated the person responsible fills it in and it's all there to see where we're up to.

Yes I could have built a wiki but the google app tools are nicer and easier and they can worry about backup instead of me.

I find for putting words on a page (or in boxes) it works smoothly and is in many ways a more polished experience than even the newest versions of Office.

My 2c.

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MicroBalls

Bill Gates may have got extremely wealthy by releasing utterly shit software - and frankly how he managed that will remain a mystery (unless it is in fact true that most people are morons who will buy anything)... but he will stay until the day he dies a joyless, borderline psychotic monkey boy with no mates. Seen that video of him being questioned by the antiturust people and rocking violently like a deranged chimp? That's the real Bill Gates. Bill hates you. He wants you to fight your stupid, crappy PC every step of the way. And you will, you herd-following drones. You want to surf the net? Sorry, can't find the network / got a virus / here's another fucking wizard that does nothing and buggers everything up.

The fact that Gates got so rich and powerful selling shit software that doesn't fucking work and is hated and yet still bought by people who consider themselves sentient humans is depressing beyond words. He should use his vast wealth to buy everyone on the planet an iPhone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I forget...

Just about the only "original" thing Microsoft did was "Bob" (see clippy). We know how that went over!

The list:

Basic - Dartmouth

MS-DOS - Seattle Computer Products

Windows - Xerox/Apple

Word - Electric Pencil

Excel - Visicalc

PowerPoint - Overhead viewgraphs

I'm sure others could add to this list....

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You use what you need

When I was younger, my eye was often turned by a fancy looking bit of freeware or software gadget or add-on. I built up a raft of Firefox plug-ins, had various google apps and other apps that would eject CDs at the push of a hotkey and do other stuff.

Now I work with computers all day every day, and what I want now is universality. It may look impressive to have your personal computer workspace pimped up to the max, but when you find yourself using half a dozen different computers on a daily basis what you really want is for the same thing to do the same job in the same way on each one of them.

For me the brain energy expended remembering all the differences between tweaked and untweaked systems is greater than that saved by using the gadgets, and the trouble caused by becoming dependent upon tools that are not always available or usable isn't worth the effort.

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Linux

Sit in a quiet corner old man your time is done

Hey Gates, when Windows and Office are free then you can talk, until then go to a quiet corner and pretend that you use Live! Search or MSN search (whatever the name for your useless search is), then pretend that you use Streets & Trips instead of Goolge Maps. At least when I use Google search to find a relevant TechNet article I actually find it on the first page of search results. Your Live! service has it on about page 15.

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Boffin

they really don't have the richness, the responsiveness...........

Not normally what I thing of when it comes to Microsoft either...think more Bloat and Sluggishness, then your on the right track.

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Gates must be worried...

I used to champion Microsoft back in the days when I was employed as a developer. These days I have my own business all web based and have somewhat distanced my self from MS. Still torn between IE and Firefox.. although Firefox is slowly winning me over.

I digress though, because Google Apps was the talking point. Personally I use Google Apps these days and have all but ditched Microsoft Office (exception being Access - for now...) I've always liked things to be simple and to do what I need them to do, not what I might remotely do in some distant future. Office tries to do too much for my liking, is too big and expensive (not that I ever bought it!). Google Apps and GMail (my ONLY email these days) suit me perfectly. I've actually found the collaborative side of things useful too, sometimes for business and sometimes for household stuff too. It's just easy and it does what it says on the tin. Not to mention the fact that I use various PC's all over the place.

Thumbs up Google - Microsoft, try harder next time!

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Stop

Difference between Google and Microsoft....

You know it's funny to watch and try and be impartial to all these comments. Google has done a wonderful thing - commercially I mean - it's kinda like the old adage about Satan - the greatst thing Google has ever done is convince the world that it's not about the money.

And Money is the root of it all - we just seem to believe that Google isn't making it faster than the average mint. (the one with money, not the strong taste). Google is our "friend".

Everyone hates Microsoft - and why - is it the bugs, is it the exploits, is it the poorly written software... no. It's not. All software has bugs - the exploits come as a result - not of the quantity of bugs.... but the exposure those bugs get. Poorly written software - some of the Linux releases I've seen have been terrible... hard to use, hard to configure, hard to learn - but we accept it because it's free - thank you world for such a wonderful free tool.

Google (our "friend") has built a whole mythology on this concept - and good on them too. Google starts by creating a search engine better, more friendly and seemingly more accurate than the rest. They give us that for nothing - free - gratis - out of the goodness of their hearts. Google is our "friend".

Now when you search they show paid adverts - but never mind - they are somethimes helpful, and well targeted - so we don't mind them - even like them - Google is our "friend"

The best (arguably) free email client (concept stolen from Hotmail - which didn't used to be MS anyway)... same but with a cool new organisational method and almost limitless (and growing!!) space. All this for free - Google is our "friend".

and more... free apps, utilities, toolbars (Hey MS - We'll beat you to one of your best loved Vista features by stealing the concept), local search tools .... and of course the best mapping and planet visualisation tools (noone wonders where all the money comes from to buy that data....) Google is our "friend"

How is this paid for - well those friendly adverts on almost any site you visit these days - as intrusive as most banners and popups (more so in some cases), and they analyze and chop and shape (and use and ultimately in some form or other sell) our demographic and web use data - but we don't mind this - they give us so much for free - they are our friend. But still the money (ultimately OUR MONEY!) rolls in - just not quite as directly.... and we welcome it.

People hate Microsoft because they see paying for the products as a tax. Everyone hates the licensing model, and everyone hates Microsoft.... but do they invade your life a sneakily and underhandedly as our "friends" - that's an exercise to the reader.

I use all three technologies in the areas they work best (Ie MS, Google, Linux) and others too.... and I hate paying the MS tax on everything as much as you do... but that alone isn't enough to consider everyone other than MS to be holier.....

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Stop

billy boy..

billy boy? mmmmmm? the man that though the web was some kind of fad? who thinks someone with 2 or more brain cells will shell out over 250 squid each for a buggy os and bloated office collection when better is out there for free? where did dos come from? 95, most of 98, ME (hahahaa) vista anyone?

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Coat

Microgoogle

Coming soon.

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Anonymous Coward

Worthless opinion

This from the man who thinks we'll talk to our computers to do our future searching! Right Bill...has about as much chance as productivity programs on your browser, wouldn't you say?!

Oh, how's that SmartWatch going, or where's the new Bob, or is my WebTV hooked up yet? What about my Push Desktop or that MP3 player...I thinks it's called Zoon (I just know it rhymes with loon)? Gates has about as much vision as an 85-yr old w/ cataracts!!

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@ Anonymous with the Worthless Opinion.....

So you don't think that Google think voice searching is a good idea?.....

http://www.google.com/goog411/

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Anonymous Coward

RE:Sharepoint...

By Anonymous Coward

"....hmmm. Thats what we use at work and every damned time I open a document from it the sodding thing warns me that "opening this document could damage your computer" or some other trite pile of crap."

Try adding the sharepoint site to your list of trusted sites.

"I can't save this document because it doesn't exist".

Are you sure its that it doesnt exist and not that its checked out by someone else? to stop that from happening, have it so check out is required for editing or turn of checkout on the sharepoint library.

The time that you would get a document doesnt exist shouldnt be when saving back to sharepoint from an office application, as if it didnt exist in sharepoint the save would end up saving a new document. It would occur if you tried to check in a document from sharepoint, in the browser, when you have closed the app, and not checked it in beforehand (ingoring the do you want to check it back it), so it removed it from the local cache, so would no longer exist to be checked back in. The you would get a message saying the document doesnt exist, but that it doesnt exist on your PC, not in sharepoint.

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Gates Horns

Bill sez

"Google really doesn't understand the special needs of business.

"What business needs, is to pay Microsoft a fortune for our support contract every month. What business needs, is to then pay extra for our next buggy, bloated, restrictive OS release. What business needs, is to pay our friends in the hardware business a nice wad of cash every three years for computer upgrades to run our new release, just so that they can keep doing exactly the same things they were doing before (sending dirty jokes to each other over email, and surfing for porn).

"What business needs, is to realise that they're not there to make money, they're there to make money for US!"

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MS learning searching?

Ha! File searching in XP works 30 times better than in Vista. They went backwards there.

I don't think Bill really has a clue what anyone else is doing. Too busy using MS only (which since he gets for free doesn't hurt his pocket anywhere near as much as a regular person).

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Search and software.

They have got to be joking. There is a lot of improvement that could be done to google, maybe the improvements are tied up in illegal software patent (illegally forcing people in other countries where they are not legally enforceable to suffer second rate service). there are an number of functions that have been in other browsers for years that I sorely miss. I can't even tell google to look for exact spelling, because it allows for multiple endings of words, even, I think, when you put it in brackets, which doesn't help if you are looking for an exact word or phrase to filter down the number of results, or punctuation like "." after a initial, or tab, or looking for an model code/name or initial and it grabs in similar words. And there is no real wild-card, like * for an combination of letters and numbers, in any part of the word, and ? for each letter. The web browser companies really need to give some sort of semi-proper comprehensive search facilities like you get in data precessing script languages under Unix. The same happens with file search in windows, you have to dig deep in the indexing system to find something and that is difficult to get up. I'll mention an new feature to think about, "Sounds Like" where you can feed in a word or phrase, and the search is done on on any phrase that phonetically sounds like that, the search engine would store words along with their phonetically equivalent, this would not require correct spelling of exact phrases. These sorts of things would have saved me many hours many times, in searching. I have come up with a lot of search technology over the years, and a lot of engines are scraping the surface of human oriented performance.

I call on Microsoft and google, to tear off the patent shackles, and use all the techniques for service to countries that do not support software patent, nothing illegal in that, actually applaudible and admirable, all they do locate the servers in countries that don't have software patents too (some of them will be most glad for the income). Then merely put notes on the help pages of all countries, under functions covered by software patents, saying, this command MAY NOT be available in your country, because it MAYBE covered BY SOFTWARE PATENTS. And also on the screen an explanation of how many countries don't have software patents and consider such an thing to be invalid etc etc etc.

I might also say about complaining about google apps, so much software seems to be faulty or not well defined, google is not the only one. Microsoft, Google, and others, need to crack down on this trend in the computer industry. Making lots more faster has been an recipe for disaster for users, and also for code patching.

Real man=real solutions.

Another words, hire an competent technician, before a code factory worker in a suit or a overly confident nerd.

Wayne Morellini

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Part of the sequence

"Then they laugh at you."

That's stage 2 isn't it?

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Flame

anti microsoft sentiment?

Just noticing of late El Reg's anti microsoft sentiment has slipped from a healthily irrational hatred of all things MS to a more radical lefty, wishy woshy, girly wirly, namby pamby tree hugging google snoggin open source love feast. since when did el reg go veggie? have you guys started recycling your pizza boxes as well now?

SORT IT OUT! any more of this and i may as well start reading slashdot and will consider coming to Reg HQ and sticking a copy of Unbuntu where the sun don't shine oooh. or I could start reading ms tech net there I’ve said it!

consider this a friendly slap around the face from a concerned friend

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IT Angle

Re: Re: I forget...

AC, are you an Apple fan boy

"Windows - Xerox/Apple"

Didn't know Xerox and Apple were one company. It actually was:

Windows/Apple - Xerox.

But I think Ian "What are all the documents for?" has got it spot on. Who actually uses 99% of any MS Office application? They are so complicated I often can't even get basic formatting right and resort to typing the thing in an HTML editor or a Writeboard on basecamp. So much for increased Office productivity. But then if stuff actually worked and were easy to use all those support employees and consultants would be out of a job.

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Alert

@ John Winters ...

Ah, that was also my first thought, and you beat me to it. (You beat me to my first thought? That sounds serious!)

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Too true!

The Reg has gone so ani-Microsoft that it is now hopelessly in love with Open Source, and Google, and Wikipedia, and Web 2.0 in general.

Err, what version of The Reg are *you* reading? Alternatively, wtf are you smoking?

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Psh...

Google Docs worked fairly well for our university project recently: We collaborated and made our presentation online, then I edited, and copied and pasted people's entries into OpenOffice Impress. Worked wonderfully. Granted that we didn't use Docs for the actual presentation, but for collaborating across multiple operating systems (Ubuntu here, Arch on another, and Windows on another), and over the internet, it was perfect.

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Anonymous Coward

Funny that...

Google Apps is, although it is a bit simplistic at times, brilliant at dealing with what I want it to do. I wouldn't use Google Apps to host my website, but mail is good, calendar is good, domain administration is good.

Things have definitely improved since I switched to Google Apps.

Microsoft? Why would I want to pay them for a pile of shyte that either does not what it is designed to do, or makes it so complicated that you walk off with a high blood pressure?

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Nail / head interface

"But then if stuff actually worked and were easy to use all those support employees and consultants would be out of a job."

Precisely. It's not in MicroBalls' interests to make quality, working software. Much better to act in ways which perpetuate the massive support industry that's been constructed around its stupidly bloated, pointless crapware.

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Soothsayer

"640K should be enough for anybody"

Bill Gates, 1981

"The Internet? We're not interested in it"

Bill Gates, 1993

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Pirate

Multinationals Battle it out.

Multinational1: We make more money selling our overpriced products to our customers.

Multinational2: Hah weve spent millions spying on our customers so we can understand them.

Multinational1: We discovered sticking the word beta on the front of products lets us get away with murder.

Multinational2: Well we've bought all our competitors, so that our products don't look un-innovative.

Multinational1: We've patented the concept of the 'company' give me all your money.

Multinational2: If the (insert random super state) can't touch me, what makes you think you can?

Multinational1: the 3 million employees under the age of 10 ive armed with the "Multinational1 AK47's (tm)".

And thats how world war 3 started, renamed to Web2.1 the new propriety extension of the marketing term Web 2.0.

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Coat

Re Microgoogle

Shouldn't that be GooSoft or something similarly silly sounding.

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Pirate

Chuckle, Brother ...... IT is Good for you :-)... but Leave the Future Plan 4XXXXPerts2

I hope Bill can afford to Giggle at "Yahoo 42 Rescue Microsoft?" .... By amanfromMars Posted Wednesday 5th March 2008 13:49 GMT .....

"Yep, couldn't agree more." .... By Daniel Posted Tuesday 4th March 2008 20:58 GMT.

Makes Microsoft appear very Flat Footed, Daniel. Always the Bridesmaid and never the Bride?And that makes them Vulnerable to Virtualisation Masters for they have no Pioneering Champion of their Own ....... which given the amount of

Flash Cash they have to Spend on whatever they Fancy, is QuITe Inexcusable, and must surely Indicate a Lack of Virtualisation Intelligence in-House. And that rings equally true and valid for their share and stockholders, in Countries.

http://comments.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/04/yahoo_oneplace_launch/

PS.... there has been an upgrade made here to the message, which more Time and Thought have permitted.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Picassa anyone?

Picassa wasn't brought to you by Google. It was bought by Google (so this is an example of Google acquiring rather than innovating).

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IT Angle

Just a tool

I don't understand why Google Apps is getting bashed. in the end, Google Apps or MS Office are just tools to get a job done. The requirement for an Internet connection is an issue for road warriors, but beyond that I have no complaints. Although I'm certainly annoyed with the file format differences in the new version of Office.

The converters don't work well if you're using Mac Office 2004. I also don't believe in good company / bad company. i'm certainly no fan of MS, I don't like their business practices and I'm not fond of their software, but saying that google is "good" is, well - scary. Give them time...

Anyway, I think they offer a good tool. I'm more concerned about ownership. I thought there were some open questions regarding who owned documents created using Google Apps?

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Heart

Sharepoint is shite!

I have made a decent living (ie side job) ripping out expensive Sharepoint installs and replacing them with Open Source.

Paid for my new car. Next conversions from Office 97/200/XP to OpenOffice

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Richness??

I'm sure that refers to the amount of money people spend on IT people to support Microsoft's unending tidal wave of products that are still in the alpha version until service pack 1a comes or something. Maybe the richness is the gold coins that good ol' Billy gets to swim in every monday inside his money bank.

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Alien

Microsoft Vs Google

Microsoft is very strong with Business applications. word, excel, nobody can touch them.

Office 2007 is no better then Office 2003 with no added benefits.

Vista Operating System is terrible. I have two computers one with Vista Business, The other with Vista Home Premium. The OS is the worst. I have had 9 complete crashes in less then one year. You get a couple visual up grades over XP. and ten times more head aches. Not to mention 100 of hours lost trying to sort out they daily issues.

Google applications run very smooth, Picasa 2, Gmail, Google toolbar, Google Earth,

Microsoft will never be able to compete just wait until they "Buy pop up city commercials" I mean Yahoo. That should be a lot of fun

Vista OS is going down like MS Millenium.

I mean come on name calling is just another form of jealous flatery

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NO NO NO

Hes just p****d off because google wouldn't sell, and if google are so crap why did he want to buy them in the first place???

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Stop

Anti-MS twoddle

This site is becoming more and more like YouTube. The semi-literate comments whenever a story contains the word "Microsoft". Honestly, you're like a bunch of kids for the most part. "I hate Microsoft coz their (sic) crap and Bill/Billy/Billyboy is an idiot".

This site at one stage was filled with meaningful debate and some quite inciteful posts. Now I have to sift through a mountain of "muppet chatter" to see correctly punctuated, coherent adult speak. Not the wishy-washy bullshit spouted by these anti-ms morons. By all means, share your hatred of ms but do it in an intelligent way.. Give us some real world experiences not the usual, and these people are ALWAYS the worst form of muppet, "I make <insert amount of money> per year installing opensource for companies..". Honestly, the way some of these posts are constructed, I'd piss myself laughing if I had to deal with you on a professional basis. <rant over. Flame on>

These comments are mine and mine alone. <Google, please don't index>

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