Oracle Cloud Office Takes Aim At Microsoft, Google

Oracle Cloud Office Takes Aim At Microsoft, Google

Web-based productivity suite based on open standards includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database, and drawing software.

By Alison Diana InformationWeek
December 16, 2010 11:43 AM
Google Chrome OS Promises Computing Without Pain
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Oracle squarely took aim at rivals Microsoft and Google with its introduction on Wednesday of a cloud-based suite of business applications.Oracle Cloud Office — like Google Docs and Microsoft’s and Office 365 — is a Web-based productivity suite, featuring word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database, and drawing software. The software is based on technology Oracle received as part of its acquisition of Sun in January.

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Initially cool to cloud computing, earlier this year Oracle CEO Larry Ellison warmed to the idea. Pundits, however, are unsure whether Oracle’s new office suites are meant as an annoyance to longtime rival Microsoft or whether Oracle views them as a viable business. The cloud-based office software market, after all, is expected to reach $17 billion by 2016 — up dramatically from the $3.3 billion it generated in 2009, according to a July report by WinterGreen Research.

The suite is based on Open Document Format (ODF) and open Web standards, and is compatible with both legacy Microsoft Office documents and Web 2.0 publishing solutions, according to Oracle. The software runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, Web browsers, and smartphones such as the iPhone, the company said. Oracle Cloud Office Web-scale architecture can be used for on-premises, on-demand, or software-as-a-service (SaaS) deployments.

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Oracle also took the wraps off OpenOffice 3.3, an open-standard office productivity suite for the enterprise designed to reduce a company’s office-productivity licensing costs by up to five times, compared to Microsoft, according to Oracle. The software, which runs natively on Windows, Mac, and Linux, seamlessly integrates with Oracle solutions and is compatible with PDF and Microsoft Office, including the 2010 release of Microsoft’s suite, Oracle said.

“Oracle Cloud Office and Oracle Open Office 3.3 deliver complete, open, and cost-effective office productivity suites that are designed and optimized for our customers’ needs,” said Michael Bemmer, VP of Oracle Office. “Customers now have the flexibility to support users across a wide variety of devices and platforms, whether via desktop, private, or public cloud. With Oracle Office, enterprises can reduce costs while helping to increase productivity and speed innovation.”

Earlier this year, however, the open office community was shaken up when 33 members, primarily in Europe, left the Oracle-supported and formed The Document Foundation as an alternate advocacy and development group.

The Cloud Office Professional Edition and OpenOffice Enterprise Edition cost about $90 per user, volume discounts available, with limited support, and Cloud Office Standard Edition and OpenOffice Standard Edition list at $49.95 per user with no support.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on hardening next-gen Web applications. Dow

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Google’s CR-48 Chrome Notebook: First Thoughts

Google’s CR-48 Chrome Notebook: First Thoughts

Google’s CR-48 notebook running the Chrome OS may be intended for testing purposes only, but we’ll put it through a typical day’s work.

By Harry McCracken, Technologizer Dec 11, 2010 2:57 pm

On Tuesday, Google announced its CR-48 notebook — the for-testing-purposes-only Chrome OS machine it’s distributing via a pilot program. Thursday, I received one for review.

My first impressions are — well, I’m still figuring them out. But here are some initial notes.


  • The CR-48 may be a laptop you can’t buy — I don’t know whether the Chrome OS systems due next year from Acer and Samsung will resemble it in the least — but I dig its industrial design. It looks like the unexpected offspring of the late, lamented black MacBook. It’s extremely simple (no stickers!) and has a comfy, full-size keyboard, and the soft finish feels good. The 12.1-inch screen makes for a machine that feels more like a small notebook than a netbook.
  • Setting up the system is a cinch — not radically different from setting up an Android phone. You provide your Google Account info and snap a photo of yourself with the Webcam. that’s about it.
  • Chrome OS feels . . . like Chrome! It’s run every site and service I’ve thrown at at it. Chrome Extensions are supported, too.
  • There’s no desktop or floating windows, but you can create multiple full-screen Chrome windows and zip between them using a dedicated key (or by using <Alt><Tab>-handy for those of us who tend to forget what operating system we’re in.)
  • As Google promised, Chrome OS does spring back to life from suspend mode so quickly that it’s ready to go by the time you’ve lifted the lid all the way. (I wonder if that’ll degrade over time, in the way that it does with Windows PCs and — to a lesser extent — Macs.)
  • The built-in Verizon 3G broadband works as advertised, and you get 100MB a month for free for two years. (You do need to provide credit-card details even if you only plan on using the freebie service.)


  • The touchpad is roomy and has a built-in button, like a MacBook or an HP Envy. But it’s very, very fussy — the cursor sometimes lurches offscreen, two-fingered scrolling is jerky, and while I’m told it’s possible, I can’t figure out how to click and drag. I assume/hope that these are CR-48 problems rather than Chrome OS ones.
  • There’s only one USB port. And when I plugged my iPhone into it, the phone didn’t charge.
  • The AC adapter is nowhere near as slick as the laptop itself-and has a three-pronged plug. Looks like an off-the-shelf model.
  • The moment the CR-48 arrived, I needed to tackle a job which it can’t handle (I’m not even sure if there are any suitable workarounds): I have to make tweaks to Technologizer’s WordPress templates using all kinds of fancy software such as Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Subversion. So I worked on my MacBook Air last night rather than playing with the CR-48.

For most folks, there are two main questions about Chrome OS:

  • Just how possible is it to get stuff done using only Web apps rather than desktop software? (Is it inadquate? Barely tolerable? Better?)
  • Is a browser really a satisfactory substitute for a full-blown OS like Windows or OS X?

I plan to dig into these questions starting this afternoon. I’m going on a weekend trip and will be working remotely on Monday, and I’m going to take the CR-48 with me as my only computer. Stay tuned for more notes from the road. And if you’ve got any questions about the device, shoot them my way.

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What is Google Chrome OS?

What is Google Chrome OS?

Google Chrome OS is an open source PC operating system. The operating system is based on Linux and will run only on specifically designed hardware. The OS will rely heavily on cloud-based applications, and the user interface will be similar to the Google Chrome browser. Announced on July 7, 2009, the operating system will be open source and targeted at netbooks.

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