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Google acquires online word processor, Writely

writely.gif
Google has acquired Upstartle, the Silicon Valley-based maker of online word processor Writely. It gives Google yet another tool in its kit of applications to take on Microsoft -- and brush aside its dominance through the desktop.

There are many similar products out there, in case Microsoft gets desperate to buy one. But then Microsoft would hardly want to cannibalize its sales of Microsoft Office.

Writely got buzz for its cool feature that converts documents into PDF. We mentioned them a few times; this was a good earlier summary of Writely..

But Om, who first sniffed out the acquisition, puts it nicest here, writing before the news was confirmed:

So you all know that Google䴜s got designs for a G:Drive and doing an end run around Microsoft? Now what if you can simply store and save data on that drive, but that䴜s not clearly as much fun. What if you could write a document in a browser, much like you write on Microsoft Word, but then save it directly to the G:Drive? That would increase the utility of G:Drive tremendously. Maybe that explains why Google is rumored to be in talks with Writely, a browser-based document processing application, for a possible acquisition.

..Now buying Writely is in line with Google thinking of using browser for everything. I mean an online word processor, and online excel spread sheet make a lot more sense than making people switch to OpenOffice.

And poor VCs. This is another example of the big three (Yahoo, Google, Microsoft) swooping in to buy cool companies before venture capitalists can even invest. Are VCs getting shut out from making money on the best Web 2.0 features? Beginning to seem so.


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Comments

I wonder what this means for GOffice, Writely's lesser known but more established and robust competitor. Have they lost, or is the phone ringing off the hook from those looking to do a copycat deal?

Larry on March 10, 2006 9:46 AM
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Here's another Writely competitor:

http://www.zohowriter.com

Wing Yu on March 10, 2006 6:49 PM
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And here's an entire Office-compatible suite for the web...

http://online.thinkfree.com

Wing Yu on March 10, 2006 6:57 PM
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Wow, I just went and tried goffice. The best I can describe their desktop publishing and spreadsheet is: terrible. Can't say for thinkfree as the submit button for registration didn't even work.

Writely had something the others don't seem to have, as it had a good workgroup management system and a cross-document linking system (kind of wiki like). We'll see what happens next.

Derek on March 10, 2006 11:49 PM
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Try irows.com for an online spreadsheet. Here's a sample: http://www.irows.com/xo/EditSheet.do?id=1713

Wing Yu on March 11, 2006 10:35 PM
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On gOffice, I was always offended by an independent company adapting the Google moniker for their own product. Did they think this would improve their chances of being acquired by Google? Only a good product would do that, not the name. Or, did they want to attract users by making them think this was a Google product?

Lex on March 12, 2006 12:52 PM
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