In a new series of ads, Microsoft is trying to cast doubt on the reliability and productivity of Google Docs. The spots featuring Saturday Night Live alum Rob Schneider (and in one case, retired baseball great Pete Rose) argue that Google Docs is too much of a “risk” and “not worth the gamble.”
Of the two ads posted below, the basketball-themed spot is much better, although still heavy handed.
In a blog post Microsoft compares the experience of opening an Office doc in a Microsoft web app vs. on Google Docs. The company argues that Google Docs creates uncertainty and unpredictability because formatting often cannot be read. That has proven true for me in situations involving heavily formatted PPT slides.
In the Basketball ad Schneider’s character, representing Google Docs, is totally incompetent on the court and forces his team to be “less productive” and “work harder.”
Office is a huge cash cow for Microsoft and one of its two core profit centers — the other being Windows. There’s no comparison currently between Office’s market share and that of Google Docs. However, Microsoft has seen some high profile defections from Office and Exchange Server in the past year, as a number of municipalities, government agencies and private companies shift to Google to save money.
Redmond has certainly started an online discussion about these ads among the pundit class. Whether they will have a real-world impact is another matter.
As others have pointed out, the irony is that these ads were posted using YouTube.