Microsoft attacks Google Docs, complains of poor document fidelity


Now that Microsoft has released Office 365 to the public, they need to offer a reason why it is worth small businesses to pay $6 every month instead of using the free Google Docs.

One of the reasons, offered up on Microsoft’s Sharepoint business site, is that Google Docs do a very poor job of preserving the look and feel of a document, including removing important information such as a Confidential watermark for example.

They write:

People expect existing documents from their desktops to look exactly the same when shared in the cloud. In this demo, you will see completely different results when the same document is viewed using Word Web App vs. Google Documents.

The demo can be seen at Microsoft’s website here, where it complains of missing graphics, watermarks and poor formatting.

We have included the comparison above as an animated GIF which makes it clear how much is actually missing from the Google Doc.

Is accurate display of documents a good enough reason to stick with Microsoft, despite the cost? Let us know your opinion below.

  • rsgx

    That’s exactly why I avoided Google docs – it is a nightmare when trying to keep formatting the same between clients using Word and this.

    Can’t wait to join the 365 beta!

    • Sergey Durnov

      What can I say – that isn’t Google’s fault. It’s all about closed format. MS opened something few years ago, but it is thousands of pages – almost impossible to follow those specs.

      • Brady Marston

        Microsoft dominated the Office application market through years of investment in hard work and research. It’s not their fault they built up a very large document spec to handle almost every imaginable scenario…

        MS rules the market and Google shouldn’t get to pretend like they aren’t playing catch up. If they catch up, fine. They haven’t by any means. (And they ARE trying to market Google docs as a viable alternative to desktop office…)

  • GP007

    Even if you don’t want to pay for Office 365 you as a business can still use the free Office Web Apps plus some skydirve, live Mesh setup to mimic sharepoint fo rthe most part and not pay anything while still getting better quality in the end compared to Google Docs.

  • kojakk

    Keeping formatting is a big deal, but editing a document at the same time by a number of users is much more impressive offered by Google Doc.
    That is what I miss from Office Web Apps.

    • Anonymous

      Google Docs is terrible, but does a great job with collaboration and has a clean and simple interface, unlike MS web apps.

      Besides even the web apps are not perfect: onenote can’t deal with ink, word in edit mode is really basic, sharing is a mess and I don’t get why the improvements released on do not mirror on windows live.

      • Travis New

        Share Point.

  • Sergey Durnov

    MSO Web Apps has poor functionality and slow as hell. Even no page-by-page view of a document when editing! I don’t like google apps, they are poor too. But until MS release good enough product – eding business documents in bowser is completely impossible.

    • rsgx

      365 Beta lives up to expectations.

      • Sergey Durnov

        Did you try it? Where can I try it? In web apps still no page view etc. Speed feels little faster, but still lots of bugs. For ex., I uploaded to skydrive big document (about 80 pages, text with pictures), it converted document from doc to docx and after it refuses to open it saying “Не удается открыть файл типа “документ” для редактирования.” (“Can’t open file of type “document” for editing”).

  • Brady Marston

    Did you really mean to ask that question at the end?

    The article is comparing free services!

    The fair comparison would be between Office 365 ($6/user/month) and Google Apps for Business ($50/user/year). Beyond the web apps, the difference is between existing MS business solutions (Sharepoint, Exchange Server, etc…) managed by MS, the clear leader in that industry and Google, the new kids trying to come up to parity on core features and adding some cool functionality here and there…

    It’s a real decision to be made, but it’s not between free and $6/user/month…

  • Alex F.

    Google Docs is rather bad even when using it without importing any Word files – the amount of formatting options is miniscule. I don’t use a lot of features of Word or Excel by any means – but Google Docs cannot satisfy even my limited set of requirements.

    And of course there is no customizability – at all. Either use it exactly how Google wants you to – or nothing.
    Want to customize toolbar? Forget it.
    Want to hide fixed row in spreadsheet? Impossible.
    Want to apply formatting in scattered cells? Only one by one, slooooooowly.
    Want to have formulas above the Excel 1.0 level? Not there!
    They cannot even get the clipboard working properly…

    And sometimes Google removes rather major features without any warning – for example recently an option to have full-width documents just disappeared. And no official explanation apart from the fact that it was indeed removed on purpose. Now web-based document editor is emulating paper view (how’s that for common sense?) and no other options available.

    I’m still using Docs, because they came with my (paid) Google Apps subscription – but only for basic notes and quick scribbles.