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June 14, 2006

Commoditization of Spreadsheets = Office Express?

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With the release of Google's new free spreadsheet service targeted at low–end, home users, will we see the commoditization of spreadsheets? Microsoft has recently made free "Express" editions of their programming environments. Perhaps Microsoft will release kind of "Office Express" – a cut down version of Office – for free?

Google Spreadsheet still feels very green and lacks some of the key features which even low–end users may want e.g. Charting. I know they will keep rolling–out features, but being stuck in the browser does have its limits.

However, paying top dollar for MS Office when there are free alternatives will certainly start to make people think (at least in the SOHO and academic environments). An Office Express would certainly slow the desertion to other free products (especially Open Office).

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