back to article Google smacks Surface with free Quickoffice for Android, iOS

Google has reduced the price of its Quickoffice tool to nothing on Android and iOS, a move Microsoft won't appreciate. Google scooped up Quickoffice about a year back and made it a part of Google Drive. Doing so meant Drive users could edit Microsoft Office documents. The Chocolate Factory has now made Quickoffice available …

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  1. M Gale

    Quickoffice files save into Google Drive

    Ah. Never mind, then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quickoffice files save into Google Drive

      You can open and save locally of course. However logging on to Google drive from within quick office before Sept 29th will gift you another 10gb of free space.

      What's not to love about that? Free office suite, free cloud storage space.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quickoffice files save into Google Drive

        It's by 26th September, not 29th, and the 10gb are good for only two years but still I'll grab that offer: http://googledrive.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/freeing-quickoffice-for-everyone.html

      3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Quickoffice files save into Google Drive

        What's not to love?

        Data slurped by Google AND the NSA?

        That reason enough?

        1. Hi Wreck
          Thumb Up

          Re: Quickoffice files save into Google Drive

          It's comfortable knowing your data is not only backed up, but backed up offsie too!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quickoffice files save into Google Drive

        ...free access to your documents for Google. What's not to like?

  2. poopypants

    Heating up

    The cold war between Google and Microsoft appears to be heating up. This can only be good for consumers, provided they both keep their lawyers out of it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Heating up

      Actually, if they lawyers did get involved, it could very well backfire.

      Android has the applications, Windows RT does not, and Office isn't going to cut it alone.

    2. Shagbag

      Re: Heating up

      Agreed. For too long, consumers have suffered with the 'Microsoft Tax' in all its forms. Finally, the monopoly is being broken. As long as neither MSFT nor Google (or anyone else for that matter) have a monopoly position, consumers will benefit.

      1. Phoenix50

        Re: Heating up

        Ha - and if you think that after the dust settles, Google "wins" the future and Microsoft is consigned to the history books that we will all be better off, you're utterly deluded.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Heating up

        I would rather pay more than have The Borg read all my documents and emails and send me targeted SPAM and adverts for the rest of my life. Google is still a tax - just on your time and privacy...

        Besides, this is still an way inferior product to the real Microsoft Office.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Heating up

          Google is still a tax - just on your time and privacy...

          Yup, that is a payment in a different currency. It may be worth noting in that context that you pay MS once for the product, whereas Google you'll pay the rest of your life - your personal data isn't returned when you stop using their service, and you have agreed to a license to your IP into perpetuity (read the ToS - you'll find it soon enough).

    3. Benchops

      Re: Heating up

      I'm in two minds about the cloud wars that have started.

      They're both wanting to collect and hold a huge quantity of personal data about people.

      Whilst I rarely touch MS with anything less than a cattle prod I'm inclined to think their offering might be better simply for the reason that I don't think they're competent enough to do anything with the data.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Heating up

        " I don't think they're competent enough to do anything with the data".. like backing it up you mean. Anyone who had the danger os on their phones will know just how good Microsoft are when it comes to backing up and recovering data.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Heating up

          "Anyone who had the danger os on their phones will know just how good Microsoft are when it comes to backing up and recovering data."

          You mean Windows Phone? Not sure why that's the danger OS - it's far more secure than the other current options, and Microsoft don't SPAM you for life with the contents of your data, and there is no Malware like on Android - and as far as we know the NSA can't remotely control your camera / microphone like they can on Android...

          You are correct about the backups though - If you logon to a new Windows Phone it restores pretty much everything including all of your applications from the last automatic cloud backup....It's really fast and completely seamless.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Heating up

        " I don't think they're competent enough to do anything with the data"

        They are competent enough to spill it out / lose it, given that a humble council can easily do that. Surely that can't bid below that level of "competency"?!

  3. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Didn't Microsoft kill off a better browser by giving away an inferior one?

    I believe it did.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Didn't Microsoft kill off a better browser by giving away an inferior one?

      Almost - they killed its financial viability and locked lots of corporations in to a now-regretted dependency on IE5/IE6 which even MS can't/won't port, even as 2nd class application, to later versions of Windows.

      But Netscape's legacy is still around as Firefox, and doing not too badly.

      1. Steve Crook

        Re: Didn't Microsoft kill off a better browser by giving away an inferior one?

        All I can remember about IE 5/6 was their shitty and inconsistent support for HTML and CSS and a complete determination to keep them outside the standards the rest of the world was working to. I think the biggest legacy of those versions of IE is the fixed width WEB site...

        1. BristolBachelor Gold badge
          Trollface

          Re: Didn't Microsoft kill off a better browser by giving away an inferior one?

          I'm sorry Steve. Could you put carriage returns before char 80

          on all your lines please. Only you see I'm reading this on a portrait

          screen, and the fixed width of the bloody website means I keep

          having to scroll left and right to see.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Didn't Microsoft kill off a better browser by giving away an inferior one?

          All I can remember about IE 5/6 was their shitty and inconsistent support for HTML and CSS and a complete determination to keep them outside the standards the rest of the world was working to

          Funny that. I've seen that happen with the MS Office formats too, so even that wasn't *cough* innovation *cough*

      2. illiad

        OFFICIAL: NO upgrade needed to XP if you use Firefox... :)

        support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/955647

        just make sure you have xp sp3.. full how to here.. :)

        support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-no-longer-works-some-versions-windows-xp

  4. Byz

    At this rate...

    Office is going to go the same way as VisiCalc and WordPerfect.

    They dragged their feet about windowizing their interface and lost market share to office.

    As less PCs are being sold and surface is a damp squib Office is now losing market share to both QuickOffice and iWorks, to the point where outside the desktop they'll be irrelevant :o

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Byz Re: At this rate...

      Really? So you're too young to remember the MS-haters spouting exactly the same bumph about how StarOffice was just CERTAIN to kill MS Office when it was given away as Open Office? QuickOffice will be nothing more than a reader for documents produced in MS Office, as phones (and even most tablets) are good for consumption but crap for production of documents. Production will still largely be done on desktops and proper laptops, and MS Office (or Office365) will still be the tool of choice.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Byz At this rate...

        Not even with Google Docs, which can ALSO access Google Drive, meaning you can edit on the desktop and have access on the phone PDQ?

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Charles 9 Re: Byz At this rate...

          "Not even with Google Docs, which can ALSO access Google Drive...." Apart from the fact Office365 already has this with the real productivity suite, not the shallow clone, have you read the terms on the Google Drive license? Google gets to use your docs as they like, in perpetuity, even after you delete them, which implies they keep copies of all that stuff you may have decided was too embarrassing/incriminating to keep.

          1. Tim Bates

            Re: Charles 9 Byz At this rate...

            "Google gets to use your docs as they like, in perpetuity, even after you delete them, which implies they keep copies of all that stuff"

            I suspect that's just butt-covering in the event that a Google employee cocks up and lets people's files out into the wild somehow. Remember, Google has a lot of lawyers, and T&C documents get written by those lawyers. They'd be thinking of the worst cases and covering their arses. Particularly after that WiFi thing people got all upset about (over what was essentially nothing).

            I'm not saying Google's all rainbows and candy, but I seriously doubt they want to keep the worlds files on, er, file just so they can sneak a look next Tuesday when the programmers are bored.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Byz At this rate...

        OpenOffice has certainly lead to much reduced prices (like the £79 for 3 home licenses) since they had to fight for the home user. I don't think many MS haters claimed OO would obliterate Office. Hoped, yes.

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: At this rate...

      "Office is now losing market share to both QuickOffice and iWorks"

      Clearly you would like to think so, but that simply isn't the case. Office is still growing revenue - especially via Office 365 which is growing rapidly:

      http://betanews.com/2013/06/03/shock-survey-37-of-orgs-plan-to-adopt-office-365-within-24-months/

  5. g.marconi

    There have been similar "office" apps for Android for a few years now, so this is nothing new!

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      New?

      Depends, many older options did not work very well, maybe Quickoffice will work to a "good enough" standard?

      Still, has MS not been in "protect Windows cash-cow at all costs" mode the last few years, it could have make Office properly available on IOS (at least) and Android and seen much more sales. Oh, and saved 1B$ in write-down on the unloved WinRT fondlslabs...

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Most office apps on Android are complete arse, barely more sophisticated than Wordpad or at a pinch, MS Works. I've got Polaris baked into my Asus Transformer and the bloody thing doesn't even recognise half the keyboard navigation keystrokes forcing me to poke at the screen to move the cursor around any appreciable distance.

      I think if I were expecting to do any serious word processing or spreadsheets on the go I'd just buy a Windows tablet.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Try Kingsoft Office. It is pretty good.

        1. Paul Webb

          Works for me, and it's free.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          SoftMaker Office is said to have the best MS-office compatibility and works well for me on Linux and Android. Feel sorry for them that Google bought QuickOffice and not them.

      2. Captain Underpants

        @Office on Android recommendation

        I've found Documents To Go to be pretty good. I first tried it out because at the time there was no PDF viewer worth a damn, but since then I've found it's pretty good for Officey stuff too. I've not done anything hugely complicated with it, but thus far it hasn't had any problems with the random selection of documents I've put through it.

        1. MrT

          Re: @Office on Android recommendation

          +1 for Documents To Go - I've used it since first switching from the older Windows Mobile platforms when the HTC Desire first came out, and got it direct for about £6 back then. Polaris looks all fancy, and shows a few things that DTG doesn't, like cell outlines on spreadsheets (but at least those that are there are maintained when saving). However, DTG is easily good enough to use in place of the Mobile Office apps on the old HTC Kaiser et al that T-Mobile use to rebadge as their Vario range.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I think if I were expecting to do any serious word processing or spreadsheets on the go I'd just buy a Windows tablet."

        if you wait long enough you'll be able to get one free with a burger :)

        1. DrXym Silver badge

          "if you wait long enough you'll be able to get one free with a burger :)"

          I'm not talking of Windows RT, I'm talking of Windows. There are already Windows tablets running x86 processors with similar battery life as ARM chips. If I was looking for something for word processing I would pick one of those over an Android tablet any day of the week.

          It's not just the quality of of the office suites on android which is an issue but lack of a proper printing infrastructure. And keyboard / mouse support is generally terrible. All things that seriously impact on the ability to produce rather than consume information.

  6. Lusty

    Price

    The price may well be zero but what is the cost?

    1. Wang N Staines

      Re: Price

      The cost is an unhappy user because he/she didn't have the satisfaction of paying for something, i.e shopaholic.

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Now waitaminnit...

    There's been a Quickoffice app in Android since Honeycomb, but I've never been able to make it do anything. What's up with that?

  8. jonathanb Silver badge

    No reason for Office?

    "Google's just taken away any reason for Steve Ballmer to consider productivity apps on non-Microsof mobile devices before his departure."

    I don't agree. People will pay money for MS Office on Android and iDevices even if the competition is free, for the same reasons that they pay for MS Office on Windows and OSX even though Libre Office is free.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No reason for Office?

      People will pay money for MS Office on Android and iDevices even if the competition is free, for the same reasons that they pay for MS Office on Windows and OSX even though Libre Office is free

      And, i think, if they've gone for the subscription model of Office 365 then (at least the phone version) is free already.

  9. MattEvansC3

    Probably won't be long before Microsoft pull a YouTube/SkyDrive and get Google to pull or rename it as the name infringes trademark, implies its official, causes confusion blah, blah, blah in an effort to dent consumer/corporate confidence in the product.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Except they can't because they used the VERY generic term "Office". They can trademark the complete phrase "Microsoft Office", but not the word "Office" because it's too broad. Therefore, QuickOffice (which is different enough in name and logo to MS Office) would get a pass. Also, Microsoft would have to answer why they didn't make such an assertion with StarOffice/OpenOffice/LibreOffice previously (there is IIRC a statute of limitations for filing a trademark infringement claim).

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        My first "office" suite was bundled with my PC and was called Borland Office. It was Wordperfect, Quattro Pro and Paradox for Windows. Productivity bundles have been calling themselves Office for 20 years now.

      2. MattEvansC3

        Didn't stop SkyDrive having to be renamed because the UK courts upheld BSkyB's objection to it's use of Sky in the name. Also Quickoffice's main purpose is to provide MS Office functionality, the others were competitors to MS Office.

        1. HollyHopDrive

          I think that's because of sky broadband, sky tv , sky sports etc.

          If ms had called it "drive sky" ms would have been allowed it. Sky is their brand (company name) and all their products are called sky xyz. Microsoft is er...called Microsoft not office) so, no leg to stand on.

          1. MattEvansC3

            Not all their products start with Sky, you have The_Cloud and NowTV but the court's decision was based on the fact that customers could be confused because it sounds like Sky's other products not because it had the company name in the title.

            The Sky result was primarily done under the concept of "passing off" which Microsoft could apply to this situation;

            http://www.humphreys.co.uk/trademark-infringement.htm

            In order to succeed in an action for passing off the claimant needs to establish that:

            (a) the claimant's products have acquired a goodwill or reputation in the market and are known by some distinguishing feature. That feature can range from a lemon shape container - Jif Lemon (1990) to a telephone number - Law Society v. Griffiths (1995);

            (b) in using a similar feature the defendant makes a misrepresentation leading or likely to lead the consumer to believe that the defendant's products belong to the claimant or are in some way connected with the claimant. The defendant need not act intentionally;

            For (a) Microsoft Office has a built a reputation in the market under which it is reffered to as "office" not just "Microsoft Office" or "MS Office" and that can be considered a distinguishing feature.

            For (b) by using Office in the product's name (the company is now Google so can't use the company name as a defence) and providing a service that interacts with Microsoft Office, it can be construed that Google are un/intentionally misrepresenting QuickOffice as being in some way connected with Microsoft's Microsoft Office.

            The other thing with the "Passing Off" infringement is that the claimant does not have had to register the trademark for it to be infringed.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Trademarks, unlike patents have to be actively enforced. This hasn't happened against Borland Office, Star Office, QuickOffice, et al., so no case. See also legal action around the name "windows".

        2. jonathanb Silver badge

          But that is an objection to the use of the word "Sky", not the use of the word "drive", which is generic.

          Sky has Sky TV, Sky Sports, Sky Broadband and so on. There cloud storage service would almost certainly be called Sky Drive.

      3. heyrick Silver badge

        "Also, Microsoft would have to answer why they didn't" ...

        Not to mention them trying it on by using the word "Office" to describe a productivity suite. Somewhere around here I have MicroOffice on a tape. If the tape is any good, it'll load right into the nearest Beeb.

        1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

          @Heyrick

          Give me InterWord and InterSheet any day. Load much quicker than tape too :)

        2. Soruk

          Somewhere I have Mini Office for the Spectrum, and Mini Office II for the BBC Master.

          As for Sky Drive, they could have gone with MicroDrive.

          ...oh. Yeah, another Sky trademark (via Sinclair and Amstrad). Still, slow and unreliable, so at least it fits the description there.

          1. jonathanb Silver badge

            The couldn't go with Microdrive, because a hard drive manufacturer owns that trademark. It was originally IBM. They sold there entire hard drive division including the Microdrive trademark to Hitachi. Hitachi then sold most of it to Western Digital and some of it to Toshiba. I don't know who got the Microdrive trademark, but I'm guessing it is Western Digital because Toshiba got the 3.5" bit of it.

            1. Bachupan
              Happy

              bachupan

              the name microdrive was used by Sinclair for the Spectrum computer around 30 years ago !

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Trademarks CAN be shared if they're differnt enough from each other.

            For example, in America, the term "Cracker Barrel" is trademarked twice. One is for a line of natural cheeses from Kraft (don't knock them here--the cheeses here are real, just not fancy). The other is for a restaurant/novelty store chain with a distinct 19th-century motif. There has been no complaints from the USPTO over the matter since they are essentially non-competitive.

  10. mIRCat
    Joke

    If only we could pay you to use it!

    "The Chocolate Factory has now made Quickoffice available at no cost for iOS and Android users and is talking up the fact anyone can now edit Microsoft Office documents for the low, low, price of zero"

    That's okay, Microsoft prefers to compete on merit.

    1. rcorrect

      Re: If only we could pay you to use it!

      That's okay, Microsoft prefers to compete on merit.

      I almost clicked down vote until at the last moment I looked at the icon.

  11. ratfox Silver badge
    Alert

    Hey, we have another source of money

    …So let's kill your business by offering everything you do for free.

    If I remember correctly, some countries actually have laws against this (e.g in France, you are not allowed to sell something at loss unless during designated sales periods).

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Hey, we have another source of money

      US law does have laws against that, too (here we call it "dumping"), but since alternatives already exist that are not only free but FOSS, trying to assert dumping is going to be a hard sell, especially since the tie-in to Google Drive means they can claim competition by a different business model.

      1. MattEvansC3

        Re: Hey, we have another source of money

        But most countries competition laws prevent the use of a profitable arm of a company funding a loss-leading part of the company for the purposes of stifling competition or preventing a competitor from being competitive which would over-ride the competition by a different business model that you mention.

        It makes a hard sell a 50/50 sell as Microsoft would only need to prove that Google had no intention of profiting or at least breaking even purely from Quickoffice's link between MS Office and Google Drive (including advertisement revenue).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hey, we have another source of money

          >It makes a hard sell a 50/50 sell as Microsoft would only need to prove that Google had no intention of profiting or at least breaking

          Google could make the same argument about Microsoft Surface or Windows Phone 8 - now well over $billion written off to those and zero change of earning anything.

          1. jonathanb Silver badge

            Re: Hey, we have another source of money

            The difference is that Microsoft is pricing Windows Phone and Windows RT with the intention of it being profitable.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Hey, we have another source of money

      er, what about Google search? Last time I checked it was free to use. Then there is Google Mail, Google Drive, oh, and some free operating system called Android.

      1. MattEvansC3

        Re: Hey, we have another source of money

        Google Search, mail and drive are ad based, there's a profit model associated directly with those services/products so they aren't loss leaders they just work on a different business model.

        Android is an awkward proposition and doesn't neatly fit into competition rules and is likely why the EU haven't started any form of anti-competition over Android. Google are using Android as a loss leader to get OEMs licensing its products and this would bring down the wrath of the EU as it puts those who's business is licensing the OS at an unfair disadvantage. The reason it hasn't is because its open software, Google own the name but they don't own the software and there's nothing preventing competitors from using the OS, altering it to their needs and putting their own services on if much like Amazon did.

  12. Charles 9 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    No ODF Support

    Just gave it a spin for the sake of it. One problem: I use LibreOffice.

    Guess what? No ODF support.

  13. Wam

    No good for me

    Just downloaded - won't open some spreadsheets, opens docx as a non-editable pdf - not impressed

    1. HollyHopDrive

      Re: No good for me

      Yes, I got the same. It appears it can't edit Google docs but can excel ones. Bit of an own goal that. Still, its a freebie. At least graphs are rendered into the PDF on the phone which is more than Google drive/docs can do on a phone/tablet.

      Give it 6 months and it will all be good. Can't moan when its free.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: No good for me

      Try Softmaker Office or Kingsoft

  14. Patrick 17

    Saves paying for Apple's office suite

    Good for iPhone/iPad users too given that Apple has only made its office suite (Keynote, Pages, Numbers, iPhoto and iMovie) free with iOS hardware purchased after Sept 2013 -- ie. everyone else (the vast majority) still have to pay. Perhaps Apple will feel compelled to make their suite free for everyone rather than see more of its user base move to Google products?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    all your documents

    belong to us?

  16. Tom from the States

    Remember what Churchill said about democracy.

    "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others."

    People moan and complain about the MS monopoly. What about WordStar? WordPerfect Suite? OpenOffice? iWorks? There have been (and still are) other competitors but until they come up with a better experience, MS Office is the best of the lot. No doubt MS made use of undocumented API calls, but that's a story for another day.

  17. Dave Fox
    FAIL

    "Redmond has made noises about bringing Offfice to iOS and Android, but hasn't followed through."

    Perhaps more research is in order here....

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/31/4571912/microsoft-office-for-android-features-screenshots

  18. Lamont Cranston
    Thumb Up

    I like the sound of this.

    If they can sort out an easy way of printing from Android, I'd even be tempted to invest in a keyboard for my Nexus 7 - granted, it won't completely replace a PC, but it'd be ideal for bashing out the odd letter and maintaining my gas/electric spreadsheet. MSOffice is overkill for the home user.

  19. Brassic Lint

    Eh??

    I don't get it... I've had QuickOffice Pro for years on my iPad and use it lots. I hdn't realised Google now owned the brand. I checked and my QOP is v 5.something whereas the new google one which is free is v6.1. Downloaded it and as above can't edit Word docs... Which I have always been able to do (from DropBox which I also can't do now..)!

    Makes the app pretty useless!!

    So... take out a heap of functionality and start giving it away for free...

  20. Inquisitive

    Sorry to pee on the party here but someone mentioned Microsoft Works, mostly derogatory, but for me it was an uncomplicated suite of programmes that was adequate for my needs. Much like that other underrated Microsoft piece of software, Office One Note, its an amazing piece of software and because its Microsoft its written off. No I'm not a Microsoft troll or apologist but I do believe that occasionally they do get things right and One Note is in that category.

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