Google’s never been one to shy away from acquisitions – yesterday, it was social conversational tool Meebo, and today, the search giant’s opening its wallet for an undisclosed sum to snap up Quickoffice, developer of the eponymous mobile productivity suite.
Quickoffice, for the uninitiated, provides what’s essentially a version of Microsoft Office for Apple iOS, Google Android and Nokia Symbian, keeping Office file format compatibility its core focus and competency. In fact, I hear the Barnes and Noble NOOKcolor e-reader/entry tablet comes with Quickoffice pre-installed as its default productivity solution.
As ZDNet’s Larry Dignan points out, Google’s strategy here is painfully obvious. Google can talk about using Quickoffice to make Google Docs even better, but what this really is is a warning shot across Microsoft Windows 8′s bow. Once Windows 8 tablets hit the market, a major market attractor over either Apple (for hardware) or Google (for services) is going to be guaranteed Microsoft Office compatibility, given the fact that they’re running, well, Microsoft Office.
So in light of Microsoft’s mobile land grab, Google’s play here is straightforward: Purchase an existing, cross-platform mobile application provider and roll it tightly with Google Docs, such that anyone who needs that kind of Office-compatible on-the-go functionality can get it on their existing devices, and before Windows 8 even hits the shelves.
“Quickoffice has a strong base of users, and we look forward to supporting them while we work on an even more seamless, intuitive and integrated experience,” Google’s blog entry reads.
But Dignan suggests an edit to Google’s statement:
“We’ve acquired Quickoffice as a nice offensive against Microsoft before it goes mobile happy with Office. We think we can integrate Apps and Quickoffice before Microsoft launches its mobile assault.”