A new survey by NPD has found that the 73% of Americans have never heard of Google Docs and other online office applications, but perhaps worst still only 0.5% of respondents have abandoned desktop office applications for an online alternative. 94% of Americans have never tried a web based productivity suite.
To be fair though, the survey was of “600 PC users” so it (possibly) didn’t count Mac users for example, nor really ask enough people to even be a statistically valid survey of computer users.
Although some will undoubtedly use the figures as proof that online applications are failing to gain popular acceptance, they do represent an opportunity waiting to happen. Google and others are working hard to change the way businesses use basic services such as wordprocessing with a continued marketing push into the enterprise sector. The challenge is to overcome over 25+ years of what people consider to be normal (desktop apps) by proving that the online alternative is ready and capable of being used. There’s little doubt today, at least based on OS X and Linux adoption figures that there is a very real and definite move away from Microsoft, accelerated by the disaster that is Vista. Whilst there are always desktop alternatives on both platforms, there will be a continuing number of users who question the need to buy Microsoft Office, be that as an upgrade for an existing OS, or brand new as they switch to Mac. It’s a slow switch, but given the online alternatives there is little doubt that the number making the switch to online apps will continue to grow.
(via Download Squad)