I don’t often find myself disagreeing with Nick Carr, but I think he’s underestimating the threat Google pose with Google Spreadsheets. Google don’t need to provide software that competes with Excel on a feature-by-feature basis, all they need to do is grab some spreadsheet audience.
They can achieve this by providing basic core functionality, and by using their massive, cost-effective distribution network.
Like most people, I use very few of the features available to me in Word and Excel. In fact, I’ll go to great lengths to avoid using either program. Why? I simply don’t need the complexity. Word, rather than helping me communicate more easily, actually slows me down. Same with Excel. Only power-users require most of the features, and power-users are a minority.
“No one is going to stop buying Office because Google Spreadsheets exists”
I disagree. People did stop buying Office when OpenOffice arrived. There are students who are going to question why they need all the features offered by an expensive product, and will opt for the scaled-down free version instead. Those students will eventually end up in the workplace, and workplace cultures will change.
This isn’t a feature war. This is an audience war.