Open source software. Microsoft has been locked in, what seems like, a never ending battle with free and open source applications. But things are escalating fast now that Google has jumped in.

The search engine giant has been pushing its weight towards open source alternatives, in what is clearly a bet to move organizations way from Microsoft software. And while some organizations have made the switch, others are determining the impact, the fight is taking place in the troposphere now.

That is to say, in the clouds. And both companies are getting serious about it.

As Gartner explained not too long ago:

“As they strive to look for more savings, governments around the world rightly look at how to use the procurement lever to reduce their cost base, cut unnecessary spending and squeeze more efficiency from their relationships with technology suppliers.

Alternative sourcing models, including cloud, open source, crowdsourcing and new forms of partnerships will become increasingly popular.”

Google Apps brings the most common productivity solutions right in the browsers, including a document editor. But this is where Microsoft is launching an offensive — with Windows and Office.

Ads and commercials from the software titan show the advantages of sticking with its popular operating system and suite of productivity applications, highlighting the familiar interfaces and rich feature sets. Even marketing materials for Surface tablets and Windows Phone handsets flaunt this advantage.

The recent quip about Google Docs being inferior to Microsoft Office? Part of this grand strategy, alright.

Ultimately, however, analysts believe it will come down to the cost factor. And for Redmond to really tackle this issue seriously, they will have to deliver maximum value to keep the maximum number of users with their products.

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  • Drew J

    I enjoy Google Docs when working with groups, but Google is taking on a battle they can’t win here. I don’t think Microsoft Office will ever be beaten or realistically challenged by anyone. It’s too established and too good right now.

  • Ray C

    Open source is not all it’s cracked up to be. Just like the battle between content makers and file sharing, they thought they could make it more popular and cause a tidal wave of change by appealing to the common person. They tried to pass both off as a way to stop being overcharged for things and advance new technologies. A lot of people jumped on the bandwagon because all they needed to hear was low cost or no cost. But still to this day, the average person really doesn’t get what open source is all about. And the promise of all these great open-source solutions that were supposed to be better than most commercial products never came true. Sometimes these people developing closed-source software actually do know what they’re doing

  • Mike Greenway

    “Ultimately, however, analysts believe it will come down to the cost factor.” You treat these analysts as the “Ultimate” authority, but analysts don’t agree on this issue and some must be wrong, It is very likely that many IT gurus are still more interested in security, then cost. This attitude makes my Heart Bleed. 🙂