Update: All of the “free” cloud storage services have been compared on CNET, which includes Google Drive, iCloud, Skydrive, and some other ones I’ve never heard of, so check it out here.
So there is now Google’s Drive cloud platform, which is competing with other Cloud-services though specifically Microsoft’s Skydrive and there are a few others out there right now. But it all comes down to your needs. I think definitely, in the future from today that in the classroom the Cloud-based office suites will be most commonly used. But for now, the Local-based office suites like the regular Microsoft Office and Apple’s iWork are here to stay for a bit. But do you also know of the alternative to those office suites?, well there are the other paid-competitors like Wordperfect and such, but there is a very powerful and free alternative.
The free alternative is obviously Open Office. I see more and more people using the .ODT format which makes me so happy. Why should we pay the expensive price for Microsoft Office or Apple’s iWork?. All I have to do is install the free suite and start using it, and it’s completely compatible with Microsoft’s Office formats and also Wordperfect formatted files. With iWork formats, you simply have to go into iWork and export the document as a Microsoft Office document then you can open it with Open Office. The GUI (Guided User Interface) of Open Office is the same as the other ones, and is just as easy to use. It’s like me using GIMP instead of Photoshop, which is completely free aswell, and has the same general interface as any paid image editting software.
So not only will the Cloud-driven office suites take over the Local-based applications in time, but I can see Office, iWork, Open Office and Wordperfect going down the drain somehow. Maybe they will actually stay and just integrate the Cloud-based importing technology into their software. Let’s say in theory, if Microsoft allowed you to save a Word document while it is automatically saved to a folder in your Skydrive account, instead of opening Skydrive in a web browser and saving the document there, that would save Microsoft Word from eventually losing it’s ground in being used by consumers, and the same goes for all of the other Office suites offered by competitors. But Google Doc’s is already free, so these office suites that cost money would have to be free too. Only the future will help us predict what will happen with these office suites. But for now, honestly I am going to keep using the Cloud-based services as I can very easily manage all my documents on my phone aswell with ease.
The question remained still for me when I thought about this. What is the current winner in the battle of local versus cloud office suites?. The answer is, basically both right now. According to this poll I found here, it actually seems obvious if you think about it that this would be the answer. I use both still too. But eventually it will narrow down to mainly cloud-based services. And there is a prime example of what I was talking about above in theory of there being a cloud-importing technology built into a local-based office suite. IBM has created just that and the suite requires registration for a trial period of a few days and is for Windows right now. The suite is called Lotus Symphony, and there may be more suites out there but this one came right up after a search on Google.
Then there is that same idea but for the Android called OfficeSuite Viewer 5 which allows you to view local and cloud documents all on the go. It also reads other formats like pretty much all Microsoft Office formats and PDF’s and such. This seems to also cost money aswell. But do we really need to pay for this kind of stuff?, heck no. Google Doc’s alone could do the job for me, there is nothign missing in it. There are no features less that it has that would make me want to purchase IBM’s new Lotus Live software suite. So my advice is to never pay for that stuff, or any kind of software, except games of course. You can find a free alternative to everything. Anyways that pretty much sums it up and if your still wondering what the answer is to the title of this post, the answer is yes, Cloud office suites will take down Microsoft Office in my own opinion. But it will take some time for us to adapt to the cloud-based services that are currently available today. And for other uses in cloud-computing, that will take awhile to be implemented within today’s standards of file-management within computers.