back to article Airbus ditches Microsoft, flies off to Google

Airbus is to shift its entire workforce to Google’s cloudy productivity and collaboration tools, ditching Microsoft Office on-prem wares in the process. The “decision that will shape our company” was confirmed by Airbus CEO Tom Enders in a memo to staff – seen by The Register – who said the business is gearing up for the next …

  1. Turgut Kalfaoglu

    It's about time..

    They could have done better by NOT opening themselves up to any cloud service, but Google beats Microsoft in my book.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "but Google beats Microsoft in my book."

      Yes, its slurping operations are still unmatched by Microsoft...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Pirate

        Re: "but Google beats Microsoft in my book."

        Microsoft(Bill Gates) have always envied Apple, and want to encapsulate us into a Microsoft device just as Apple has with Apple hardware, software and itunes store. but wants to go one better with 'Software as a Service' and make us pay RENT on the extortion system they call an O/S and Office software.

        We will gladly allow advertisers to parasite our usage than give leverage to that dictatorial RENT seeker.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      WTF?

      "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

      By handing all its design data to the US.

      That indeed will be transformative.

      Some will say that this is "Historically inevitable."

      Like the downfall of the Soviet Union. Like "The end of history."

      And like such "Hitorical inevitabiliites" it is also completes bu***hit.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

        By handing all its design data to the US.

        That's not compatible with EU law and I'm pretty sure that Google make sure the data is in an EU, probably even a French data centre or even on premises. G Suite for business costs money and shouldn't be confused with the "paid for by your personal data" stuff. Still, I could be jumping to conclusions just as much as you are. Best to wait and see the details.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

          "G Suite for business costs money and shouldn't be confused with the "paid for by your personal data" stuff"

          This is exactly why this forum of "experts" is so entertaining. My cat has more credibility...

          Gsuite is a fine product that eliminates many of the headaches of supporting traditional office suites, it excels (lol) in many areas too, notably realtime collaboration, which is way ahead of office. It's also very cost effective, easy to rollout, more secure (yep, all those hundreds of copies of each and every single document lying around on users harddrives, just waiting for an unlocked PC isn't exactly secure compared to a single linked web document with realtime ACL and 2FA)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

            > Gsuite is a fine product that eliminates many of the headaches of supporting traditional office suites

            I don't know why the downvote. I use Gsuite and O365 in two different environments, and Gsuite is easily the more reliable, the fastest to load, and has the features I actually *use* without bloat. For example: inside a Google Docs document you can create embedded drawings directly.

            Google's SMTP relay just works, while smtp.office365.com frequently hangs when I'm trying to send mail.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

              "I use Gsuite and O365 in two different environments, and Gsuite is easily the more reliable, the fastest to load"

              It's definitely not the fastest to load. O365 takes about a second to launch any app as it's installed locally. Google Suite takes many times longer to load. And O365 doesn't rely on Internet access to work (although some services like OneDrive do) so it's also far more reliable.

              " For example: inside a Google Docs document you can create embedded drawings directly."

              So they finally added a feature MS Office has had for well over a decade?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

            "more secure "

            Nope - security is vastly inferior to O365. It lacks fundamental DRM and KMS security features. The best you can do with GS is send out an ACL controlled URL! Good luck trying access a secure document on an airgapped network, or without internet access...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

              "Nope - security is vastly inferior to O365. It lacks fundamental DRM and KMS security features."

              Sorry, different security. DRM is irrelevant and the actual security means your documents aren't shared to NSA or Boeing.

              Although neither are good at that. Or privacy of the users.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

          Why French? Airbus is German also <G> - and I've never heard of Google servers "on premises".

          And still US Congress is discussing a law which would give legal access to any server "owned or controlled" by a US entity, not that CIA or NSA need legal access.... a FISA order is well enough to cover their butts, and of course they could even do without, until caught...

        3. se99paj

          Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

          The physical location of the data doesn't matter, if the company that is storing the data is a US company they could use the Patriot Act to obtain that data, even if its stored in Europe. I don't think this has been tested legally, but companies don't want to take the risk

          https://www.cbsnews.com/news/patriot-act-can-obtain-data-in-europe-researchers-say/

          This is why Microsoft created a datacenter in Germany that is run by a separate Non-US company

          https://www.theverge.com/2015/11/11/9711378/microsoft-german-data-centers-surveillance

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

            The physical location of the data very much matters. The movement of ane ITAR classed data into the US automaitcally places it under US Export Control, meaning it could then become an offense to export it back out of the US.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step"

          "Still, I could be jumping to conclusions just as much as you are. Best to wait and see the details."

          It's too late then, everything, including business model, product development and plans is already sold to Boeing and everyone who wants them. That's as sure as the Sun rising tomorrow.

          No guarantee that that hasn't already happened already, I wouldn't trust Microsoft further I can toss it. But Google is even worse in every aspect and that's a kind of achievement: Be more evil than Microsoft.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Google has chosen not to gloat,"

      Because pretty much everyone else is moving to O365. As airbus probably will eventually once they find the numerous issues and limitations with GS. There is a good reason why Amazon has books for migrating from GS to O365, but not the reverse.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "but Google beats Microsoft in my book"

      Yes Google have always been the market leader in SaaS. The problem is that in Google's case this stands for Spyware as a Service.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Great you associate Gogole with spyware. reckon significantly less risk of that happening than your databeing exposed on a microsoft platform

  2. AMBxx Silver badge
    WTF?

    Drank the Google Kool aid

    18 months of disruption just to change how you do email and create documents? I'd love to see the ROI calculations, or is someone just thinking about their next job?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

      18 months of disruption just to change how you do email and create documents?

      With the forced march to O365, I think Airbus realised they only had three choices:

      1) Home brewed on-prem with either a Windows desktop and Libre Office, or Linux+Libre Office, and some challenges around email and communication integration that might require "infill" software. Trouble is when there's any problem, everybody points at somebody else, and that the migration won't be cost free, nor all of the software.

      2) Admit defeat, pay the full Redmond tax for off-prem, limited control, everything works OK but you're paying a very full price for essentially legacy tech but without the local control.

      3) Accept that it's all going off-prem, and at least go with a cheaper, more modern technology in the shape of Google, which is probably leaner, less bloated, and works together as though it had been designed to from the start.

      Not really very good options, whichever way you cut it.

      1. Nate Amsden Silver badge

        Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

        Am curious how is google docs/etc more modern than office 365 ? Most everything I have read talks about how terrible google docs are, even people I know that use both.

        Perhaps google docs web stuff(document/spreadsheet) is better than office 365 web document/spreadsheet. But most often I think office 365 comes with licensing for regular versions of office (I know I downloaded my office binaries from office 365 site).

        I use outlook on office365(web) regularly(also have outlook 2010 in windows VM, my main desk/laptops have been linux since 1998), while I haven't used gmail since 2011, the seemingly dramatic user interface changes the way gmail operates were too much for me to be happy with. I'd rather use outlook in a windows VM on top of linux then use the gmail web interface.

        I have NOT used office 365 web based word, excel etc, no need when I have the real versions.

        Overall this announcement seems that they are just using google as leverage against MS.

        I'd wager they will have far more compatibility issues than even using say Open/Libre office in place of MS office.

        1. IHateWearingATie

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          Id hate to be forced to use the g suite only. My wife is forced to at her work and regularly brings in her own laptop with O365 on it to get stuff done.

          A client I worked for used the g-suite so I gave it a go (brave, given how much my wife moans about it). My experience:

          Email - fine. I preferred outlook but that was only because I know it well, both had their plus and minus points.stuck with Google without issue really.

          Spreadsheets - the Google version is severely limited. Quickly moved back to excel in my own laptop.

          Word and PowerPoint equivalent - as spreadsheets. Terrible. Quickly moved back.

          Files. It was fine so stuck with it. One drive generally sucks, so hard for Google to be worse!

          1. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

            Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

            "Spreadsheets - the Google version is severely limited. Quickly moved back to excel in my own laptop."

            Why Google can't fix how to sort on multiple columns I don't know, but they claim no one needs it. Or on one does it because of how hard they made it:

            In Excel - select the range, click Sort, pick the order of the columns to sort, and click OK

            in Google Sheets - select the range, sort on the last column you want to sort by, then the second to last, then the third to last.... and finally by the first column you want to sort by.

            Then if you update the data and need to redo the sort:

            In Excel - select the range, click Sort (it remembers how you did it before!!), and click OK

            in Google Sheets - kill yourself...

            1. TonyJ Silver badge

              Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

              I've migrated from Gsuite to O365 for customers but never vice versa. I mean literally no one has ever asked to go the other way! I'm not saying they don't but I've yet to encounter anyone.

              Having used both O365 and Gsuite for online collaboration, I can say that O365 is now just as easy. That said, most places I've worked tend to use the full fat clients on Windows PC's and share their files more traditionally. Old habits and all that.

              One Drive integration in Office is still odd, in my personal opinion. It's all too easy to save things into your own personal OD rather than a corp shared one or vice versa and for users to then lose them (as in forget which one they used).

              The integration with the Windows Explorer could do with some streamlining too, I feel.

              I must admit I don't know what compatibility is like. Does anyone know how well Gsuite handles Office files?

              And have Google fixed that weird thing yet in their sheets where adding a £, $ or € symbol didn't automatically change the cell to currency?? Annoying as hell, that one.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          Google docs is more modern, it was designed bfrom the outset to be web based, office is a hybrid abomination, not very good at either.

          Only today the company spent a boat load of cash on thinkcell office addin to make a small part work like Gsuite.

          It's so hilarious, I just sit and watch, eating my popcorn.....

          1. IHateWearingATie

            Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

            "Google docs is more modern, it was designed bfrom the outset to be web based, office is a hybrid abomination, not very good at either."

            From my direct experience, I would assume "more modern" on their spreadsheet app means "doesn't do the stuff I need it to"

            Office can be a pain (particularly when Excel in its latest incarnation decides that I have been using it for too long and starts munching extra CPU cycles for no reason, necessitating all Excel windows being closed and opened again), but at least it has the functionality I need. Where was COUNTIFS for so long (a quick google tells me finally been added very recently)? Why is sorting such a pain in the arse?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          Yep, I tried opening a docx with minimal formatting (fancy header/footer, a few tables). GSuite and Apple Pages both garbled it. O365 Word Online was able to view it, but the tools to alter it weren't there. LibreOffice opened it and edited it perfectly; then wouldn't allow me to save in the latest Word docx format without losing "incompatible" formatting. As I had to share this doc with clients who use Word, I bit the bullet and installed Word. Once you get it set up, and give it sane keyboard shortcuts... it's still a pile of shit. If I had to choose, I'd use LibreOffice, and save in its default format.

      2. Walter Bishop Silver badge

        Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

        @Ledswinger "at least go with a cheaper, more modern technology in the shape of Google"

        How much money will they "save" by moving to the cloud?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          "How much money will they "save" by moving to the cloud?"

          About $15.6 million per year. Google and Microsoft publish their pricing online. $10 per u/m * 130,000.

        2. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          How much money will they "save" by moving to the cloud?

          Well, they ARE Airbus! Where else would they want to go?

        3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          How much money will they "save" by moving to the cloud?

          Biggest problem I've seen with Google Docs is the inability within any of the official Google products (sync, etc) to bulk-download local backups of the documents. I may be using GoogleDocs for writing (fanfic and original fic) so that I can have the documents on whatever internet-connectable device I'm on, but no way am I relying on online storage as my only copy.

          Eventually found a script on Git that would download copies of all the documents to ODT and PDF, so I run that once a week to keep my OWN backups.

          I would hope there would be some equivalent for the commercial GDocs Suite so you don't have to be dependent on the good graces and reliability (HA!) of Google.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          "How much money will they "save" by moving to the cloud?"

          GS will cost them $5 a month MORE than O365 E3 per user.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

            libre office would compensate for ALL of that. how come they're not just using THAT?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

            "GS will cost them $5 a month MORE than O365 E3 per user."

            You have to know there is a Microsoft E5 which is $35 per month. E3 is not the top of the line.

            Even so, Microsoft is 90s client server PC software. G Suite is modern software... It is like comparing Siebel to Salesforce.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

        With respect to "3) Accept that it's all going off-prem", Airbus are not just a civil aircraft manufacturer.

        Therefore there will be parts of Airbus which simply *cannot* store their data off-prem without one hell of an audit trail. In the best traditions of big IT transitions, I'm willing to bet the affected projects/people haven't been consulted properly, if at all.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

      "18 months of disruption just to change how you do email and create documents? "

      If that's all it was I'd agree with you.

      It's way more than that and the mindset you're displaying is why Linux and friends have never really managed to challenge MS's dominance on the desktop.

      We look on it as email and documents. Manglement look on it as calendaring, oversight on what people are doing and coordinating staff everything. There simply aren't that many integrated tools around to do that(*) and this is the reason why MS Office has been Microsoft's actual moneyearner for the last 25 years (and why they're more terrified of Google muscling on on this than of Linux taking mindshare on the desktop)

      (*) Yes, I _know_ that the email part of Outlook/Exchange is bloody awful.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

      "I'd love to see the ROI calculations"

      It is pretty easy to do the ROI calculation. O365 E3 is roughly the same as G Suite Business, probably the most commonly used SKU. G Suite is $10 per u/m. E3 is $20 per u/m. Assuming discounting is a wash, Airbus will save $15.6 million per year, immediately. Pretty decent ROI for using one email client instead of another.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

        GSuite Enterprise is $25/user/month - and I can't think Airbus can do with the inferior options, especially because of the auditing/retention features. Airbus is not exactly your average SMB....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

          "GSuite Enterprise is $25/user/month"

          Yeah, and E5 is $35 per month... so again, assuming they were to do top tier on either platform, $15.6m per year in savings.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Drank the Google Kool aid

      "or is someone just thinking about their next job?"

      Or in this case their previous job. The CFO used to work for Google.

  3. A-nonCoward
    Coffee/keyboard

    I politely decline to comment

    (none)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Silly move - give a US company the keys to whatever you do?

    I guess people at Boeing are very happy too. Far less issues for CIA and NSA to tip Boeing & C. about whatever Airbus does.

    They could have better migrated to LibreOffice and whatever can be vetted and implemented in Europe.

    And that after US killed the contract Airbus won for the new US tanker.

    I guess some beancounter has been blinded by the costs sheets.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Silly move - give a US company the keys to whatever you do?

      In my old company quite a few people got their hard drives cloned at the border in the US.. in a very clear targeted way.

      And no, not providing the password is NOT a good idea.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Silly move - give a US company the keys to whatever you do?

        "In my old company quite a few people got their hard drives cloned at the border in the US.. in a very clear targeted way."

        Which is why we're now advising staff intending to travel to the USA that they should go with a virgin hard drive and factory reset phone.

        Once upon a time the USA was the worst offender on the planet for blatant industrial espionage and state-sponsored intellectual property theft. Despite misdirection and claims to the contrary, this is still the case.

    2. Rocketist

      Re: Silly move - give a US company the keys to whatever you do?

      I‘d venture to state Microsoft is a US company, just as much as Google.

    3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Silly move - give a US company the keys to whatever you do?

      They could have better migrated to LibreOffice and whatever can be vetted and implemented in Europe.

      There *is* a project for a cloud-hosted LibreOffice (works with ownCloud), so they could still have a cloudy-solution yet still keep it in-house (hosting an internal ownCloud environment).

    4. hottuberrol

      Re: Silly move - give a US company the keys to whatever you do?

      Having sold to Airbus in the past, I can assure you they are not stupid. I found their procurement very organised, considered, and robust.

      However, since then, there is a new CIO , ex-Qantas, who I recall went down the O365 route before he left....did he have a bad experience with that ? (I dont know . Anyways.... Airbus will be under immense cost pressure as a result of the A380 order book .... and Brexit probably is bothering their supply chain....and a key supplier (GKN) is under takeover threat from a VC (and VC's are notoriously short-termist and profit-centric in their operations).... ongoing subsidy disputes seem to suggest the biggest market in the world (the USA) is acting to protect chief competitor Boeing (opinion divided on that one).....all in all, if Airbus are fighting for survival as some pundits suggest...well you can "blame the beancounters" all you want if they chose the low-cost option, but I'm not sure the beancounters created any of these issues causing it ?

  5. Christian Berger Silver badge

    I wonder how much productivity one could gain...

    ... by kicking out all of that office software and switching to plain text, plus some department which can layout printed documents for you if you need them.

    I mean today we essentially live in a world where all the data of a company is stored on computers, but in formats which are hard to read for computers. Also people who don't know anything about typography try to do their own desktop publishing which could be done by specialists in a fraction of the time.

    1. elDog Silver badge

      Re: I wonder how much productivity one could gain...

      Agree. I wonder how many billions have been spent on proprietary formatting and document contents since the days of tex, latex, ascii-art.

      Markdown and visual editors that understand how to render and create would be a nice move forward - forward by 20+ years.

      But how would you do the "whooooosh" animations that are so necessary to MBA presentations?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "and switching to plain text"

      Plain text is good for humans only. Not for computers. Plain text is exactly hard for computers to read - and an UTF document will never be in "plain text" - and even ASCII depends on what a computer thinks about whatever is beyond 127 (and it's utterly incapable of representing anything beyond English properly).

      Performing math on plain text data is utterly inefficient. Navigation, search, etc. too.

      If specialist had to re-create documents from plain text data only, they would spend a lot of time to understand which formatting they should apply.

      IT has already became far less efficient since web developers, unable to understand proper data structures, used only inefficient text representation of everything. Let's not go down that hill any more....

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: "and switching to plain text"

        "IT has already became far less efficient since web developers, unable to understand proper data structures, used only inefficient text representation of everything. "

        I'm guessing you're a systemd developer.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I'm guessing you're a systemd developer."

          Sorry, I'm an assembler/C/C++ developer. Who started when Linux didn't exist yet. And who always hated those who can't understand data structures and think text files are good because they can read them for debugging - totally unable to use more sophisticated debugging techniques than printf() or log files.

          The web took IT backwards at least twenty years, probably more. Sure, just throw more CPU GHz and cores at processing text files back and forth...

          IT is becoming a mess because people start to write code before understanding programming.

          And if you all can't understand why an UTF file (or any other encoding, for the matter) is not a text file, there's little I can do for you, sorry. Keep on thinking in ASCII7, your brain has too little RAM and too few GHz.

          1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            Re: "I'm guessing you're a systemd developer."

            "Sorry, I'm an assembler/C/C++ developer. Who started when Linux didn't exist yet. And who always hated those who can't understand data structures and think text files are good because they can read"

            Sounds a lot like me. Except I don't live in the past. (And I don't get to program much C++ these days. Although WebAssembly might change that.)

            It's not clear to me what you mean by data structures. To me a data structure is something in memory.

            We're talking about on disk files which have be transformed into data structures on load. They can be serialised as text or in binary, it doesn't make much difference. Perhaps a particular data structure has a natural serialisation, but that will be specific to the class of problems you're solving. If somebody asks a different set of questions then it could be horribly inappropriate format for the data, and then the program has to deserialize data into your chosen data structure, and rearrange it before it can answer questions, and that has blown any efficiency over a more neutral format.

            Nor is text just about debugging. It's about portability - as it avoids concerns over endianess or floating point formats with ascii numbers. (And for the record, if I have an eight-bit clean editor, including nulls---and don't get me started on C's "asciiz" strings---I'd take utf8 over utf16, and utf16 over the legacy multibyte formats.) And its about archiving: that data will be readable long after you're gone.

            That said, if you're railing against XML I will join you in the queue. (Okay, XML does work for documents and has left things slightly better than legacy binary formats. I still hate it.)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "I'm guessing you're a systemd developer."

            " And who always hated those who can't understand data structures and think text files are good because they can read them for debugging "

            Irrelevant. Data structures are program internal items: Dumping them to users to read is just stupid and you fail to understand why everything outside of a program must be human readable.

            Basically you whine that why people need printouts in the first place, they should read the binary database files as they are, it's all there.

      2. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: "and switching to plain text"

        and an UTF document will never be in "plain text" and an UTF document will never be in "plain text"

        In a modern environment plain text is UTF-8.

        Anyway the distinction being drawn is between a structured binary file (eg .ofd or .docx) and a text file containing some kind of markup (eg: markdown, LaTeX or even troff!) Both have their advantages.

        1. G Mac

          Re: "and switching to plain text"

          At least for .docx (and .xlsx etc) it is binary only insofar that it is compressed ZIP format.

          If you uncompress a .docx (say by renaming it .zip and unzip), there will be a directory structure of XML, which if you desire (but don't - you will lose the will to live) you can examine in any text editor.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "and switching to plain text"

            "At least for .docx (and .xlsx etc) it is binary only insofar that it is compressed ZIP format."

            That's a lie. The format is technically XML but in pratice it's a binary blob (MS Office binary document as it is) with XML header.

            There's nothing in there you can read without MS tools. Except the header which of course is useless for actual content.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "In a modern environment plain text is UTF-8."

          LOL! Total lack of understanding.

          Open in anything that don't understand UTF-8 and it can become unreadable. Process it in anything that don't understand UTF-8 and you'll have wrong output. And UTF-8 is not the only UTF representation - others are fully valid as well. Windows is UTF-16, for the matter.

          You still have something that process what is actually a binary file and converts it into a readable text output.

          "Both have their advantages."

          Exactly. But a text file, even with markup, requires sequential processing. Binary files allow for easy random processing. Up to the point that many files using markup are transformed into binary data structures in RAM, or processing them would become very heavy.

          Really, I wouldn't like to store images/video/music in some kind of markup with Base64 encoding...

          1. Anonymous Bullard

            Re: "In a modern environment plain text is UTF-8."

            "Total lack of understanding."

            ASCII, EBCDIC, UTF-8/16 specify the encoding of plain text - how a series of bytes represent characters.

            "plain text" is just plain text.. no formatting, markup, or structure.

          2. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: "In a modern environment plain text is UTF-8."

            Oh dear. At least two posters who not only don't understand UTF-8, they also think that US English is the only language in the world.

            ASCII is utterly incapable of representing much human textual data. There are no ASCII codepoints for £, €, ¥, è, þ, ñ etc. So it can't encode French, Spanish or even UK English properly, let alone Russian, Greek etc.

            UTF-8 is self-clocking so random access is quite trivial, and encodes a far larger range of human text.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "UTF-8 is self-clocking so random access is quite trivial"

              No, it's self-synchronizing, it doesn't allow random access - you can understand when the next or previous character begins in the middle of a stream, but you have no way to get the n-th character without reading everything coming before. So even if you know that the next data is at an offset of n *characters*, you can't really simply jump there. Sure, you can store how many *bytes* the offset is - just like any *binary* file.

              It's very worrying that actual developers not only think that strings are the universal data type, but also don't understand how Unicode really works.

              "encodes a far larger range of human text" - sure, it's an excellent binary representation of the vast domain of languages - which are so complex they can't really fit well how a computer work.

              That's why the idea that data should be stored in a limited subset of text data, usually using English only, it's a very bad idea. For example, it is true that configuration files are easy to edit - but why they should be in English only? Binary data can be language-agnostic, and it would be up to the UI to show them using the proper language.

              1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

                Re: "UTF-8 is self-clocking so random access is quite trivial"

                Apologies for the long post, but...

                I used to teach developers about Unicode adoption and localisability, and the "objection" that you can't random-access UTF-8 text came up a lot. It sounds like a problem, but it's based on a flawed conflation of "text fragment" and "byte array". Random access is something you do with byte arrays, not human-readable text.

                (You mention configuration keys being English. They're not. They're machine-readable byte sequences. They happen to look like English words, but that's because of the same incorrect conflation of "human-readable text" and "bytes". Anyone who uses what is, in effect, a variable name and shows it directly to the user is already doing the wrong thing, and UTF-8 or ASCII doesn't come into it)

                I have never seen an application that cared about "characters" at the data-format level. Bytes, yes; characters, never. But because C called its 8-bit integer type "char", generations of programmers think they're one and the same. They are not. Unicode TR-17 (https://www.unicode.org/reports/tr17/) gives a truer picture of what storing textual information actually involves - it's a quick read, but it clears a lot of misconceptions that you may not even know you had. Note also how Unicode uses the term "Code-point" rather than "Character" because, linguistically, "characters" are not defined by a hard or fast rule: is the French word "cœur" four or five letters long? And how many characters is that? Or ask a Dutch speaker how many letters are in the word "Ijs"...

                The only time I've seen code doing a random-access jump into "strings" of data is in chunked data formats, or Pascal-like strings ({ Length, bytes[] }), but they do so in order to skip over "text" chunks, or copy them wholesale and pass them to a renderer for display. In these cases, the data inside those chunks can be anything - its encoding is assumed to be Someone Else's Problem, as it should be at the data-unpacking layer of any protocol.

                If you've got code that's randomly accessing a "string", it's a good sign that you're not actually dealing with text; you're manipulating a byte-array, and any textual content within it must therefore be properly delimited by the rules of the data format (if it wasn't, the data format couldn't even work with ASCII text runs, let alone UTF-8).

                UTF-8 data is transparent to any application that's "8-bit clean". Applications that hit problems with UTF-8 are ones that made invalid assumptions about text encodings, and these would also fail with other ISO-8859 codepages than Latin1, or with (horrible) stateful systems like Shift-JIS or Big5. However, there's still nothing to stop you using a byte 0xB9 ("·" in ISO-8859-1) as a placeholder within some "text" that is otherwise UTF-8 encoded, provided you replace that placeholder with another UTF-8 string (or nothing) before passing it out of your process, and provided you use some kind of escape sequence to allow that byte to be part of the "text" without having special meaning. [Seriously, don't do things like this: it's just storing a world of pain for yourself. Keep your "special" characters within the ASCII code range, and allow them to be escaped, and you're good. That way, the cases of "is the previous character a backslash" work in UTF-8 just fine, as '\' is one of the ASCII codes, and guaranteed to be a single byte, and no byte that's part of a UTF-8 sequence is allowed contain that value.]

                Random access isn't the same as searching, something that's entirely valid to do with human-readable text strings (e.g., to find special formatting tokens). You can find the location of a particular codepoint inside a string of UTF-8 text really easy: strstr() can find any Unicode code point at all (give it the UTF-8 representation of that code), and strchr() will do it for any codepoint that's below U+0080 (i.e., same as ASCII); or, from the nasty example above, strchr(...,'\xB9') will work fine, as your input is, strictly speaking a series of UTF-8 text runs, delimited by the byte-value 0xB9, which your process will turn into a single UTF-8 text run. (Differentiating between the "text" 0xB9 values and "special-char" values is your problem, though...)

                I would be genuinely interested if you can provide a piece of pseudocode showing an application that needs to reach a character boundary by index within a block of UTF-8 text. I've yet to find an example that isn't already broken for certain valid ASCII inputs.

                Nonetheless, all of the above is not an argument in favour of text-based data formats - I still believe that binary streams are quicker and more compact. However, the issue of byte-order for multi-byte integers has always made interchange risky, and in the days the WWW was being constructed there really were still systems that were 7-bit only when it came to text, and also stripped any code below U+0020; hence the use of HTML "&" entities for characters like quotes that are actually already encodable in HTML's default character set (ISO-8859-1). Interoperability often means "lowest common denominator", and that's a stream of printable ASCII codes, plus CR, LF, and TAB.

        3. Christian Berger Silver badge

          Re: "and switching to plain text"

          Well one should note that for 99% of cases, any program written for plain ASCII will just work for UTF-8. After all, when do you really want to find out the length of a string in characters instead of octets? Usually the most one does with strings is compare them to other strings and/or chop them appart at certain places.

          At the company I'm currently at, we handle the "routing table" of the German telephone network. It's a nearly 20 Gigabyte text file in which we need to do a daily update. The previous version, which ran on an SQL-Server was unable to keep up with the daily updates, the new version does the daily batch job in around 20 minutes.

          There are examples where binary data is more efficient at a moderate cost of extra complexity. However most systems today really benefit more from having an easy to read, understand and fix format, than speeding up a process that happens every few seconds from 2 ms to 0.1 ms.

          BTW, Office products are probably the area where it doesn't matter if your files are binary or not. They still are basically impossible to work with.

      3. inmypjs Silver badge

        Re: "and switching to plain text"

        "Plain text is good for humans only. Not for computers."

        I was tasked to design a node in an update of a multi-node serial bus embedded system. The bus data rate was increased by a factor of 4 to improve performance over the existing system.

        The packet format over the bus was basically binary so the packets were not easily human readable anyway.

        One of the requirements was for the node to report its temperature over a 20C range with 8 bit resolution, so you would think a byte would be fine? Nope the moron/customer decided that temperature needs to be expressed in ASCII in degrees K to 2 decimal places and shall include the decimal point and the K. Why not waste time sending and thousands of processor cycles formatting and parsing 7 bytes of information when one will do? Why not increase comms speed by a factor of 4 so you can decrease data representation efficiency by a factor of 7.....

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: "and switching to plain text"

          Sorry to be a pedant but it's "K" not "degrees K"

      4. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: "and switching to plain text"

        "If specialist had to re-create documents from plain text data only, they would spend a lot of time to understand which formatting they should apply."

        tab-delimited works best. CSV is cumbersome and doesn't handle use of the double-quote for inches very well, nor the use of commas to separate the decimal on a number.

        Tab delim works with 'awk' and pastes directly into a spreadsheet with columns properly set up afterwards.

        What's not to love?

        and in case they refer to 'plain text' with respect to inter-office communications, I'm totally on board with THAT. HTML mail is an *EVIL* *CANCER* that should've been nuked out of existence early on.

        post-edit - UTF-8, same as 'plain text' from my perspective.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "and switching to plain text"

        "Performing math on plain text data is utterly inefficient. Navigation, search, etc. too."

        Totally irrelevant. The point in using plain text is that it's the format that is easy to transfer from one system to another, every program in the world can handle it and it's easy for humans to read.

        All key points in any universal format. Efficiency is something one program can try to optimize internally but in this context that's last in the list, totally and utterly irrelevant.

        Anyone offering imagined 'efficiency' as a basis of an universal format isn't understanding why and what is the function of the format at all.

  6. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    It's all a game of survival...

    In this case it's Enders Game. I wonder if Humanity survives?

  7. 4whatitsworth

    Im only a user of basic GSuite but are the apps really that good? The last time i tried to do something with their versions of word and excel it was awful, so much was missing it was untrue. We only utilise it for the email (horrid client) and cloud storage (and only a tiny bit of that).

    It is however much cheaper than O365 so swings and roundabouts.

    1. Def Silver badge

      No, they suck.

      Google's document editor is closer to WordPad than Word.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No, they suck. Google's document editor is closer to WordPad than Word.

        In my long experience of business use of applications, I'd estimate that 99% of business users won't max out the capabilities of WordPad. Buying a full fat Word (or Office suite) for your everyday workforce is just madness - they barely use any of the capabilities, with even the most advanced users failing to understand and use "styles", few using the tabulation and indexing (mostly badly), and some token cackhanded application of the review capabilities - and I've never seen any business use of the referencing capability. I know there's lots of limitation to Word, but even so, giving it to most employees is like giving your gran the keys to a Ferrari.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          99% of business users won't max out the capabilities

          Maybe not, but there's a very good chance they'll be reviewing documents that needs full Office.

          1. Candy

            Re: 99% of business users won't max out the capabilities

            I worked with a company going through a similar transition from Office to G-Suite. In the end, they got to 80% of users migrated and did make some savings.

            About 15% of users still needed full-fat Excel (VBA/Macros and database connectors were the major factors here) and 10% needed Word (again, VBA but also document automation/assembly).

            The keen mathematicians amongst you will note that there was some overlap between the groups.

            I hear they're mulling a return to O365 as the interop between the two is giving them headaches.

            1. Anonymous Bullard

              Re: 99% of business users won't max out the capabilities

              Word and Excel are specialist applications.

              It's like buying photoshop just to crop & scale a few photos.

          2. Crypts Bloods

            Re: 99% of business users won't max out the capabilities

            Why? Because that's the way we always do it. Given that the vast majority of documents are delivered electronically today and never see dead trees, It seems to me that this obsession with formatting is the result of the intransigence of the human mind. All I know about outlook is the customers that called me after the ".pst" file reached 2 megs and crashed. I know that was a long time ago and it has been fixed for perhaps a decade, but I never got the whole outlook worship thing. People who like it seem to REALLY like it and that seems to be the entire business model for office 365. I've been a happy g-suite customer for many years and stopped installing any sort of office suite on my computer several upgrades ago. People tell me how terrible G-suite is all the time but they are never very specific. As far as I can tell it is all bout what you know how to use. Once you know where all the bodies are buried in word and excel, it is hard to start again. I try and explain to people how foolish it is to trust your work to the spinning rust in your own computer. So listen, some don't.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: 99% of business users won't max out the capabilities

              Agree, I do not get why any company would prefer Office to G Suite. G Suite's collaborative editing is used constantly by everyone which is way higher value than some formatting niche in Word (which likely isn't better or worse than Docs, just status quo) or some formula in Excel that is used by one accountant... or possibly no one at all. It seems that people just know Office and are used to it (older people anyway). If G Suite was dominant in the 90s, people would fall down laughing at the idea of paying millions more per year to move from modern internet software to thick client/server PC software which needs to be updated locally with files stored locally with collaboration between users clearly not being part of the original suite design, emailing attachments still being the overwhelming dominant collaboration tool in Microsoft.

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: 99% of business users won't max out the capabilities

                I don't use Word to write my work.

                But everything I write has to be loaded into word and have its formatting checked and adjusted before it goes off to edit and publish.

                Because that's what they all use.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: 99% of business users won't max out the capabilities

              " I try and explain to people how foolish it is to trust your work to the spinning rust in your own computer. So listen, some don't."

              Instead of trusting your work to NSA and any US company that might happen to benefit from it? That's not only foollish, that's outright stupid. I wouldn't trust even my shopping list to those.

              Spinning rust is much more reliable than any "cloud provider" anyway. And when it's not: Ever heard about backups?

              Some people actually take them. And verify they work.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          They‘ll likely use mandatory templates for >90% of their docs. So far as I know, most big companies do.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And that's a bad thing how?

        "Google's document editor is closer to WordPad than Word."

        And that's a good thing. Word has long ago bloated to a humongous monster which is basically unusable for anyone who doesn't use it all the time with gazillion pseudo-features only a handful of people use and even less need.

        Frankly: All office internal documentation should be plain text and not some kind wannabe desktop publishing binary blob you can't even read after 10 years as it's "not supported".

        Word (and all MS 'tools') is actively trying to stop saving in plain text in the name of vendor lock-in.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google buying a slice of the pie?

    I wonder how much Google paid for this deal?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google buying a slice of the pie?

      Probably nothing when they showed them that using G Suite would save them millions per year.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google buying a slice of the pie?

        "Probably nothing when they showed them that using G Suite would save them millions per year."

        How do you work that out? It's the same prices as Office 365 and is far less capable. I bet they end up with thousands of users that still require a proper Office client installed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google buying a slice of the pie?

          "It's the same prices as Office 365"

          It's so not though. Even Microsoft tells their channel partners not to compete on price with G Suite because they will lose. E1 to Basic, E3 to Business, E5 to Enteprise, Google is always much less.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google buying a slice of the pie?

      "I wonder how much Google paid for this deal?"

      What's the going rate for coke, prostitutes and F1 tickets?

      1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: Google buying a slice of the pie?

        Google Docs can't do numbered headings* (1. , 1.1. , 1.2., 1.2.1., 1.2.2. etc)

        Airbus is an engineering company, so one assumes they'd need to produce engineering documents occasionally. Pretty much every engineering document I've ever read has numbered headings, and I've read a lot of them.

        * you can use an add-on, but all of them "send your document to a third party to be processed"... If I were Boeing, I'd be writing just such an add-on.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We've been through something similar,

    Obviously 'business continuity' is much smoother moving to Office 365 but that doesn't signal the revolution that some types need.

    But then Finance have those macro-laden Excel spreadsheets that Google Sheets just can't handle. Various departments have specialised apps that hook into Outlook (you can get rid of Exchange with kludges such as GASMO) but don't support GMail (market's too small). All departments occasionally receive data in MS-proprietary formats that Google don't support (and yes you can get Readers but sometimes you need to edit). It's an unholy mess - and I have no love for Microsoft.

    Anonymous obvs.

    1. rmason Silver badge

      It will be

      It will be the very department who signed this off/pushed it through (finance) who are the first to complain that their "spreadsheets don't work".

      "I know we said 'no' when you asked us about macros, but we didn't know what you meant, if you'd have asked Sandra or Bob they'd have told you, or if you'd have called them the 'spreadhseet things' I'd have known"

    2. James O'Shea Silver badge

      Re: We've been through something similar,

      Around there there are a few, a very few, application suites which require Windows. One of them is Office. As in Office 2013, and, in a few cases, Office 2010/2011 (the Mac version is 2011) or Office 2016; there was no Mac version of Office 2013, and the Mac version of Office 2016 is... Office 2016. There is no Office 365. There never will be any Office 365. I am in the process of moving all copies of Office to Office 2016 running on VMs, with the VMs having zero Internet access. We simply must have Office. Mostly, we simply must have Excel. Word we can take or leave, though it does do some nice things. Some people live in PowerPoint; I tend to avoid them whenever possible. Access is best ignored. Outlook is a problem; some love it, most hate it with the fury of 10,000 suns. But nothing can replace Excel. Nothing. Not LibreOffice. Not Word Perfect Office. Not Google Docs. And most definitely not Numbers, the alleged spreadsheet app which Apple dumped into iWork as a makeshift. (Pages can replace Word, though there are things that Word does slightly better, and other things that it does slightly worse; Keynote is better than PowerPoint; there is no iWork version of Access, possibly because Apple was too busy laughing their asses off, the Mac guys who need a database use FileMaker Pro. Numbers is just so bad that some have said that it was really created in Redmond to make Excel look even better than it does.) If we tried to remove Excel there would be a mutiny. Deleting the rest of Office would get, at best, a meh.

      I'd imagine that a major corporation like Airbus would have to do a few complex spreadsheets. I'd just love to be there the first time that someone attempted to open one of those (we have an eight-sheet, 32 column, 501 row, monster with lots and lots of macros and other stuff beloved by Accounting; I'm sure that it must be just a baby compared to spreadsheets generated at Airbus; no, I have no idea what it does, I don't want to know, I just know that the one time Accounting thought that it was messed up they were prevented from committing mass suicide only by our recovering a backup) and sees the mess that results. And there will be a mess. Excel doesn't like to move some things between versions of Excel, much less to some other app.

      Someone at Airbus didn't think this through. Or simply hates the Accounting dept and wants them all to die slowly. Did Simon and the PFY infiltrate Airbus one night?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We've been through something similar,

        For the money they will be saving, it is in significant to build a few new spreadsheets. I'm sure they will have a migration process. Also, they could just buy the accountants their own copy of Office off the shelf, or likely they already own copies. No need to buy 130,000 copies because an accounting group has a complex spreadsheet. Microsoft makes people believe that if one person needs Excel, then the mechanic working on an airplane also needs a copy. Not so.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We've been through something similar,

      But then Finance have those macro-laden Excel spreadsheets that Google Sheets just can't handle.

      That's the Airbus business case, right there! One single benefit, but so huge it pays for all the rest.

      Imagine how greatly improved the world would be if the tinkering nerds of Finance were permanently stopped from writing and fucking around with unreliable, unnecessary, insecure Excel macros? Bloody hell, they might be able to answer simple questions, provide data in a format that the requestor can manipulate themselves. The time savings would be huge.

    4. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: We've been through something similar,

      "Finance have those macro-laden Excel spreadsheets"

      Being able to BAN that kind of thing is a bloody good argument for using Google sheets.

      Excel abuse has been responsible for more accounting disasters than I like to think about.

      If you "need" macros then it's time to use a _proper_ database or accounting package.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We've been through something similar,

      "All departments occasionally receive data in MS-proprietary formats "

      ... and when your company is the size of the Airbus, you tell them to send it again in readable format.

      That problem applies only to very small companies and it's totally irrelevant in this case.

  10. fran 2

    Excel

    We did the switch last year, now 40% of our employees are back on Excel. Also the inability to share sub-folders/set explicit permissions on Team Drives is a joke

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Excel

      Dump Outlook you say? Hooray! I've always hated it. What do you mean there's no replacement that does the same stuff? Well OK, whatever. Actually since we went to CRM software I already use that as my address book, and only bother to import into Outlook because it synchs with my phone. I don't like Outlook's calendar much either, even with email integration.

      Word. Whatever. I'm used to it, but what's a letter Grandad?

      Haven't used Access in years. Don't need it, and if I did need a database I'd rather crawl over broken glass naked than use it. Unless it's improved in the last ten years. [laughs]

      Excel? You want me Excel? Never! You'll only prise it from my cold dead hands - and I don't plan on you living long enough to do that. Anyway who needs Word? I'll write all my letters in Excel. I'm not admitting anything mind. ...mumble, mumble, mumble... Oh look! A squirrel!

      Anyway we pay £15 a user for Office for 7 users. And are delighted, we've had one problem and that was because our resellers are useless and cancelled our account while double-charging us. I shall soon be dumping them. If we had 120,000 users though who knows? After all, of our 7 users only 3 of us use Excel, only 2 use Word and one Powerpoint. Altough if I suggested killing Outlook 2 of them would probably murder me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Excel

        That is exactly it. This is similar to people arguing about the reasons why Photoshop is better than some other photo editor. They may be right. However it does not then follow that all 130,000 users in the organization need Photoshop because of functionality that 98% of them will never need. Actually, they would be better off with the simplier, easier to use photo editor. Go ahead and buy the 2% a copy of Photoshop and let the 98% use the way lower cost photo editor. Wins all around.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "ould be better off with the simplier, easier to use photo editor."

          As long as they don't need to open a PSD file with layers and other features only Photoshop understands... It works if and only if other people get only flattened TIFF, JPEG or PNG files.

          Of course in most companies only relatively few people work on images or CAD software, and many other people just consume them.

          But do you distribute PDFs of any office document you create, or people need to open and maybe review them?

          Your comparison is flawed.

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Excel

        Anyway who needs Word? I'll write all my letters in Excel. I'm not admitting anything mind. ...mumble, mumble, mumble... Oh look! A squirrel!

        Don't laugh. One company I was at, the accountant used to write letters in QuattroPro/DOS (yeah, that long ago).

  11. Tim 11

    Desktop Apps?

    I'm sure google would like you to think this means that everyone in airbus will be doing their word processing and spreadsheet work using google's JavaScript office apps, but anyone who's tried this for real knows it's just not realistic.

    I suspect what this means in reality is that although they'll be using the web version of gmail, they'll still be using word and excel but just storing their documents in google's cloud. Even if that's not their plan, I'd wager that's where they'll be in 5 years time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Desktop Apps?

      My company of 200 (well, not "my" company) use G - it's ok. much better at sharing the documents, no more daisy-chaining via email and getting 3 "new" documents at the same time, then someone takes the original version and starts again.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Desktop Apps?

        Definitely. The collaborative editing and share functionality in G Suite is the killer app. G Suite is worth it for that functionality alone.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It'll never last. Ye cannit even mix vertical and horizontal pages in google docs yet. It's a basic office suite, which is why most G Suite-heavy shops still outfit huge swathes of their staff with office licenses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "most G Suite-heavy shops still outfit huge swathes of their staff with office licenses."

      It's almost as though....the people who make these decisions....don't really know what they're doing?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, but the thing is that every company owns their Office licenses, or nearly every company. They then pay millions per year for a Microsoft EA, because Microsoft tells them that it is the way the world works. A company could upgrade to Office 2016 and then move to G Suite, save a pile of cash and get better collaboration, while continuing to use those Office licenses until the end of time. True they wouldn't get support (but who is opening a ticket on Excel, even if they did I doubt they would get an answer other than "that's the way it works") and they don't get upgrade rights to whatever the next version of Office will be, but who cares as Office hasn't had a meaningful improvement in years... The world has nailed spreadsheets at this point, not much else of value to add after 40 years of development. Also, I bet that vast majority of users will be more than good with docs, sheets, etc, but whatever, they can have both.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Yeah, but the thing is that every company owns their Office licenses, or nearly every company."

        Not these days. Most companies have transitioned to O365 licencing.

        "They then pay millions per year for a Microsoft EA, because Microsoft tells them that it is the way the world works. "

        No, that's because it's the cheapest way to license Office products in volume.

        "then move to G Suite, save a pile of cash and get better collaboration"

        Cost is approx. the same as O365, collaboration is similar but much other functionality is vastly inferior or doesn't exist in Google Suite.

        "I bet that vast majority of users will be more than good with docs, sheets, etc, but whatever, they can have both."

        But many won't. So will still need a proper version of Office, and you now have the cost of running a zoo.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "No, that's because it's the cheapest way to license Office products in volume."

          The cheapest way you say. In what timescale?

          Yearly rent vs. one time payment is getting very, very expensive in 10 years, even more in 20 years.

          And frankly, there has been nothing essentially new in Office in 20 years, so one-time payment wins all the time.

  13. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Alert

    The words...

    Frying Pan and Fire come to mind.

    I guess that Microsoft HQ in Redmond is just too close to Boeing in Seattle for Airbus.

    Don't worry Boeing, all those lovely docs will soon be winging their way up from the chocolate factory to you.

    1. JoJ

      Re: The words...

      Boeing is in Chicago now....

      Since the time of the cardboard 787 ..

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait...

    The major European aerospace manufacturer chooses to host its document in the country of its main competitor? What could go wrong, really?

    On a completely unrelated topic, from now on, every answer by Boeing to calls for bids will be a couple of dollars cheaper than Airbus'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait...

      What was their other option?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait...

      Why? G Suite is way less costly than Office365... would this be all of those productivity savings Microsoft is going on about? "Sure, you'll pay another $10-20 million per year, but you are going to make that up in time saved with Delve analytics"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wait...

        "G Suite is way less costly than Office365"

        Nope it's more expensive - it's $25 a month - whereas Office E3 - the reduced functionality O365 version (that still exceeds the functionality of G Suite) - is only $20 a month..

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait...

      "The major European aerospace manufacturer chooses to host its document in the country of its main competitor? What could go wrong, really?"

      Instead of doing exactly same thing with Microsoft and pay even more?

      Doing nothing isnt' an option either as MS doesn't allow that and basically they shot themselves in the foot in there.

  15. imanidiot Silver badge

    I wonder

    How long will it be before an aircraft crash is blamed on docs getting mangled by being moved from MS Office formats to Google Docs format, or becoming simply inaccesible.

    I get the faint feeling with all the bullshit happening that the airbus Manglement that took this decision doesn't truly realize what it means for all those in the organisation. And especially for the (mandatory) archiving of data on anything and everything they do in the aviation world.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder

      I hope they are not keeping planes in the air with a Word doc on a local PC. That would be quite a macro.

      Becoming inaccessible. You can do offline work in Google docs, sheets, etc.

      G Suite has archiving, actually infinite archiving if you want. I doubt Airbus is going to keep their design docs on Office or G Suite, they will be in some PLM.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: I wonder

        As a coworker told me: Yes, docs are stored in a PLM system, but the editable versions are usually stored in whatever format they were created in and some design documentation is never stored in a different format. Thus documents might have to be completely recreated if the original is still available in a readable format or some design choices might be left unexplained, leading to design changes that the original designer might consider unsafe. Keeping aircraft flying in the long term goes much further than just the documentation immediately involved in their maintenance/operation.

        (From what I've been told, document inter-operability between Airbus departments themselves and outside contractors is sometimes already problematic. This change might improve matters or make them worse.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder

      "... docs getting mangled by being moved from MS Office formats to Google Docs format, or becoming simply inaccesible."

      The thing which regurarly happens with all-changing Office formats anyway? And document corruption too.

      Try to choose your arguments a bit better: Airbus has had at least 5 format change operations by now, just because of Office changing them almost yearly.

  16. steelpillow Silver badge
    Devil

    It's official, then

    Google is the new Microsoft.

    Not sure whether to laugh or cry.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two words...

    Pivot Tables

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Two words...

      Three words

      Work in Sheets

  18. Sil

    A new munich?

    I wonder if Airbus, like Munich, will face both an internal backlash - you don't change the habits of 130 000 people in one day, not even a year, as well as an external backlash from suppliers and other partners, often very small companies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Sil - Re: A new munich?

      Maybe not. Airbus is a private company not spoiled local government so they can show the door to employees unhappy with the tools they're supposed to work.

      If my employer pays me to use MS-DOS v3.3 I'd do my best to fulfill my duty or quit to a hipster working place with VR, intelligent crap and virtual assistants.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Sil - A new munich?

        Exactly. Who here uses Windows at work because they're paid to?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Sil - A new munich?

          True. Usually the situation is reversed. All kinds of Apple/Google users deal with Microsoft at work because they are paid to do so. My experience is that users will jump at anything non Microsoft, especially if it is from Apple/Google. The IT staff with their Microsoft certs are the people who are usually insisting that the users really like the new version of SharePoint. They will learn to like it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "that users will jump at anything non Microsoft, especially if it is from Apple/Google."

            Only young IT people who have been brainwashed into thinking MS is evil, while the other two are benefactors of mankind or fashionable brands that will make you find a girlfriend one day.

            Most people don't really care the brand - as long as it doesn't get in the way of their work.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "that users will jump at anything non Microsoft, especially if it is from Apple/Google."

              "Only young IT people who have been brainwashed into thinking MS is evil, "

              Are you an idiot? MS is and was evil company. Remember DR-DOS? Stealing from Apple and IBM?

              Stealing IP by 'collaboration' and then making own product based on stolen IP while the other 'collaborator' bankrupts? Blatant abuse of monopoly everywhere? Legal battle with DOJ which was dropped the second MS bought 'their man' as president? Special prices for OEMs if they refuse to sell other OSes or empty machines? A practise still in use, BTW.

              Add bribing standard granting people to grant 'a standard' which is defined as 'do this like MS Office is doing this' and they deserve all hate they get, forever. Professional criminals, whole bunch.

              List is endless (all these just from memory, there's more I'm sure) and here we have a brain dead person who believes knowing MS is evil is a result of 'brainwashing'.

              No, the reverse is a result of that: Anyone who has any idea of what MS has been doing from the start, knows it's an evil company. No whitewash or propaganda can change that, ever: It's The Company Policy(TM).

              There's a good reason why MS legal department is larger than their software department. And marketing is more than half of the whole company.

          2. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: @Sil - A new munich?

            I don't mind a lot of MS products, but Sharepoint needs to be taken out behind the shed and (slowly) bludgeoned to death with a splintery 2x4. It "deserves" nothing else.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Sil - A new munich?

            "They will learn to like it."

            Or else...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A new munich?

      That would be a hilarious conversation. "Airbus, it is supplier X. We have a bone to pick with you over your formatting choice when it comes to documents. I'm not sure we'll be able to fulfill your $200 million annual orders if this continues... Yep, I understand that would put us out of business, but it is a minor inconvenience."

      I'm sure if Airbus tells all their suppliers than they need to move to G Suite too or buy G Suite seats to work with them, they'll say consider it done.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A new munich?

        "they'll say consider it done."

        I wouldn't imagine they would more likely ask who in Airbus to send the bill to.

      2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: A new munich?

        3 downvotes ? Really ?

        What planet are you MS shills from ?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Air-plane company moves cloud, I thought this would be quite common.

  20. James12345

    Wow - feel the fear

    So many people who are scared of the thought of not using Office.

    Wow Guys - you do know it is 2018, not 1998, don't you?

    Give GSuite a go, but please don't have a heart attack/seizure when you find out that it is a better collaboration product than Office/O365.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Wow - feel the fear

      GSuite is toytown software compared to Office. If you've got very basic needs it's fine. Which, to be fair, most people do. But large chunks of your company need more, and others need to communicate with people who do.

      I remember finding Google's spreadsheet thing very nice for sharing info between people. It's great to both be in there at once, talking and changing things. It's still a shit spreadsheet though, once you try and do any serious work on it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wow - feel the fear

        "But large chunks of your company need more, and others need to communicate with people who do."

        No they don't. And the latter is highly questionable.

        You talk like a paid MS shill, sorry it's hard to believe any of that.

    2. fuksi85

      Re: Wow - feel the fear

      Done that. And it's not better.

      Granted, it depends on what you do, but in general it is not better. Without counting the need to re-train staff.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Baudwalk

    Wait for the rebellion...

    ...of the Excel Abusers!

    Surprising move, really, that they've found themselves to be able to make do with Google's much sparser feature set compared to MS Office.

    But if the missing features are no big deal for them, and on-line sync and collaboration is important, I can understand it.

    MS Office is MUCH more powerful, but every time on-line access is involved, it's slow as mollasses.

    Google, OTOH, does the snappy web experience well.

    Completely ignoring the issues with going cloudy, of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait for the rebellion...

      "MS Office is MUCH more powerful, but every time on-line access is involved, it's slow as mollasses."

      Not with a fast browser like Edge or Chrome it isn't. And anyway pretty much no one uses the O365 webapps as you are licenced for a full local install.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wait for the rebellion...

        "Not with a fast browser like Edge or Chrome it isn't."

        Yes it is, browser is irrelevant. And Edge/Chrome as 'fast browser' ? You serious?

  22. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Wonder how is that Lotus Notes revival coming on then... Seems that there is a market.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wonder how is that Lotus Notes revival coming on then... Seems that there is a market.

      Only thing that would save Lotus Notes ids IBM selling it to a company with some modicum of COMPETENCE. That and get people to stop using a *database* as an email client.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems to me change just for change sake. Having worked for a company that did just that and spunked £40m on a product suite when it could have been done cheaper and quicker for less than £5m* , I feel sorry for these poor victims, sorry, employees.

    (honestly, the justification was "I don't want any ties to the past", going as far to customise part of the old stack to look like the new - as chock, the new stuff wasn't that great so we couldn't migrate)

  24. inmypjs Silver badge

    They decided that...

    Microsoft is now as shit as Google so they may as well save some money?

  25. RollTide14

    Ummmm, missing kind of a big piece to the story

    You guys don't even mention that the old CTO (who stepped down) was poached from Google? Guy probably spent his entire time trying to squeeze Google products through the door instead of doing his actual job.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " 'digitisation' can improve processes"...

    ...because the growing of extra fingers will aid hexadecimal calculations?

  27. Lorribot

    A decision taken in the boardrom

    These sorts of decisions are based on percieved cost cutting and other stuff that has nothing to do with keeping the IT lights on. Google as company works Google's way and you better too.

    We have one (smaller) part of our company fully in Google land and the other (larger) part in house Microsoft. The Google part is more demanding (ie cost more to support) and more difficult to manage and integrate with the other IT stuff than the in house MS environment, it is a hidden cost you don't know about until you do it, its bit like integrating SAP with everthing, you end up integrating everything with SAP.

    Then there are the bits that are missing like mail relay for your other application that you have to replace for more hidden costs.

    I wish them well, but for a big company to do this with many other systems is madness, as a startup you can make it work but a company like Airbus, it may break them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A decision taken in the boardrom

      I think the integration piece is changing as G Suite become more and more prevalent in the market. Every ISV had a Microsoft Office integration built because that was just the only game in town in the 90s through 2010 or so... It is certainly true that all of the other ISVs, SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, Workday, etc, etc, would much rather work with Google than their competitor Microsoft. It is coming on line at a pretty rapid pace.

      G Suite certainly isn't going to break them. Some integration work, but it isn't rocket science... and Airbus has rocket scientists just in case.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A decision taken in the boardrom

        "I think the integration piece is changing as G Suite become more and more prevalent in the market."

        They have about 6% market share versus Microsoft on 90%. And O365 is wiping the floor with them these days so that's now shrinking.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A decision taken in the boardrom

          "They have about 6% market share versus Microsoft on 90%."

          Define 'market' in this case? Because MS is very good at defining 'market' so only MS products apply.

          Ref: Desktop OSes: Any PC with MS-tax counts, but downloads for other OSes don't. That's the way you make the numbers you like. And has nothing to do with reality.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A decision taken in the boardrom

      "... more difficult to manage and integrate with the other IT stuff than the in house MS environment"

      I read this so that it's hard to integrate MS envinronment to anything else and that cost is caused by MS, not Google or others.

      And that's totally on purpose: MS is designed to be as non-integrable as possible.

      At least anything outside of MS-land. MS uses vendor lock-in as much IBM in its worst days and that's definitely not an accident, but a company policy.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last time I used CATIA (Airbus’ CAD package) at an Airbus supplier it was pretty tied in to Excel for BOM export and so on. Is that still the case?

    An O365 seat is peanuts compared to a CATIA seat, but surely a decent chunk of their staff are in CAD/PLM for most of the day?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Exporting to any spreadsheet is trivial

      Thanks to ODF.

      All current spreadsheet software can read and write it, and as it's an actual spreadsheet format standard it's got every feature except macro languages.

      Styling is very easy too, can even drop in logos. Really nice format - unlike the utter cockup that is xlsx.

      Though for a BOM, CSV or TSV is probably sufficient.

      1. Jakester

        Re: Exporting to any spreadsheet is trivial

        ODF may not help - I've found Excel often can't handle opening an ODF from another spreadsheet program.

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Exporting to any spreadsheet is trivial

          ODF may not help - I've found Excel often can't handle opening an ODF from another spreadsheet program.

          Excel often can't handle opening files from another version of Excel, why should ODS be any different?

  29. RudderLessIT
    Happy

    You made it to my comment - I'm impressed!

    The fact is, I know of companies that have tried G-Suite and moved back to Office (in reality, they never really left). I also know that in Australia, Woolworths went down the Google path - does anyone think that they don't also run office? Yeah, you're right, they have it EVERYWHERE.

    G-Suite was necessary - it is the single reason why MS moved off on-prem only. They didn't want another iPhone/iPad moment.

    So THANK YOU Google. Thank you very much.

    But I will stick with Office.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You made it to my comment - I'm impressed!

      I think the hack here is that all these companies, probably like Woolworths (don't know) own their Office licenses. They paid a fortune for them back in 95 or whenever. They then paid a subsequent fortune every single year since for support that no one uses and, the real value of the EA, upgrade rights. The thing is that Office doesn't change because word processing and spreadsheets are ancient tech and there is nothing more to be done that adds value... Just adding and taking away ribbons at this point. So what a company can do is move to G Suite, save a ton of cash, drop their EA and then just go on using whatever version of Office they are on forever if they feel like it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You made it to my comment - I'm impressed!

        "So what a company can do is move to G Suite, save a ton of cash,"

        Or they can move to O365, save $5 a month over what Google charge and still get the latest Office version to install.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You made it to my comment - I'm impressed!

          "Or they can move to O365, save $5 a month over what Google charge and still get the latest Office version to install."

          False calculation: They already own all the Office licenses they need and of course they don't need G suite licences for those users.

          So it's basically 0 versus whatever MS is charging.

          Also "latest Office version" is just a nuisance, added cost in training without any benefits at all. That has been the reality since 2000 or so.

  30. fuksi85

    They will be back

    Of all the companies I have worked with that mad that choice, none is actually happy with it.

    Personally I used both solutions and despite MSFT having its limitations, the Google capabilities are far more limited that MSFT ones.

    Especially around collaboration, are they really moving to hangouts?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They will be back

      The new Hangouts Meet is pretty solid. I wasn't a fan of the original Hangouts, but Meet is good. I assume they are moving to Meet.

  31. ADJ
    Mushroom

    Until.....

    I have been through this and it won't work here are a few highlights.

    Accounts need to deal with suppliers who only send through things in Excel with Macros.

    Legal are working on contracts with external companies that use Word for track changes.

    Old software that "just works" and controls large expensive machines can only output in Office.

    Or you discover a large highly profitable division runs their whole business on a Access/Excel monster written by someone who retired 8 years ago........

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Until.....

      "Accounts need to deal with suppliers who only send through things in Excel with Macros."

      Legal are working on contracts with external companies that use Word for track changes."

      Imagined problems for a company at Airbus size: You sell stuff to them, you you their formats.

      The one who has the money defines the rules, not the supplier or the external company.

      "Old software that "just works" and controls large expensive machines can only output in Office."

      Shoot anyone who is stupid enough to do that. Fortunately engineers don't do that anyway. And besides, _which version_ of Office as I've at least dozen different versions of 'Office format', right now.

      And at least half of those is not supported at all in latest versions of Office. So what was the point again?

  32. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Thought Cinema

    "Open the pod bay door Hal"

    "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that"

    "What's the problem Hal?"

    "I'm running Google Cloud for AI In Space and there are 148 critical updates I must install"

    "I'm not going to argue with your Hal!"

    "Installing updates; please do not unplug or power down your AI"

  33. This post has been deleted by its author

  34. J J Carter Silver badge
    Windows

    Oh dear

    Presumably they'll also be using Slack, since there’s no equivalent to that or MS Teams in G Suite? What a muddle!

  35. J J Carter Silver badge
    Boffin

    Strategic blunder

    You’d expect Airbus would value O365 functions such as 'bring your own key' for encryption on the cloud storage or Azure Information Protection to control document access and lifecycle. I guess such things are not kewl in the opinion of the whiz kid CEO.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Strategic blunder

      "...control document access and lifecycle"

      You actually believe they don't have a backdoor to everything in their cloud?

      There has to be a way for NSA to access the data, all of it, and if MS tries to say no, they get a FISA court order to comply faster you can blink your eyes.

      Same applies to Google of course, but they'll give everything without court order, that's how it goes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Strategic blunder

        Indeed. The only responsible option is to move to open source - anything else is, undoubtably, compromised from a security point of view.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Microsoft will “politely decline” the opportunity to comment"

    Microsoft is angry.

    And for that, I am happy.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: "Microsoft will “politely decline” the opportunity to comment"

      They might not be angry.

      Maybe they just don't care.

      Obviously, their business is secure.

      They don't have to worry about pissing off their loyal customers.

      Even the big ones.

      They know they'll fall back into line when they're told to.

  37. Fustbariclation

    Odd to go half way

    It's peculiar that they didn't move to open source.

    Presumably it's because security isn't an issue for them.

    It'd have made a lot more sense, though, if changing, to change to a secure platform..

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