What Google’s acquisition of Writely means 10 Mar 2006
68 comments Latest by Gokcen Ogutcu
Google just bought a great product in Writely. Writely was one of the best executed products I’ve seen in a while. But what does the acquisition mean?
There’s plenty of talk about Google building up a full office suite. But I don’t think that’s what it’s about.
I think this is about Google building up half an office suite. Google knows that most people don’t need the full Microsoft Office collection. They don’t even need most of it. They don’t even need half of each product. They just need a few things (like creating a quick, simply formatted document and sharing it with someone). And it looks to me like Google wants to offer those few things. Google wants to build the “Just Enough Office” because that’s really want the people want.
Writely isn’t a full featured web-based word processor because most people don’t need a full featured web-based word processor. Gmail isn’t a full featured email program because most people don’t need a full featured email program. Will Google’s calendar be a full featured calendar replacement on par with Outlook? No. It doesn’t have to be. Most people don’t need a full featured Outlook-level calendar.
So my guess is that Google wants to put together a simple collection of tools that serve the 80%. Let Microsoft try to keep the last 20% happy. That’s a thankless, tireless job. Plus, 80% is bigger than 20% so might as well go after the larger market — especially when it’s easier to please.
I doubt we’ll ever see a feature-for-feature web-based Google reproduction of Microsoft Office. The 80% doesn’t need that. Google doesn’t seem to be in the business of giving people what they don’t need. Google products are generally small and focused and do a few things pretty well. That’s what most people need.
Writely seems like a great first step. Well done Google — and Writely.