“Google Spreadsheets Not Ready for Corporate Prime Time” June 7, 2006
“Business users need more ownership, tech support and horsepower in their applications than Google’s new spreadsheet app provides.”
“Released on June 6, the Google Spreadsheets beta is free to users with a Google Account. As many as 10 users can simultaneously edit a spreadsheet and communicate with one another about it via Google’s integrated instant messaging program.”
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, allow me to offer you a clue: Google is a consumer company. Collaboration is a big deal. Not being able to do macros or pivot tables or discounted cash flow matters not.
Complaining that Google’s spreadsheet lacks Excel features is like saying my Honda Accord can’t keep pace with a Ferrari F-1. The consumer model has different specs than the pro model; it doesn’t cost as much, either.
In the dawn of the PC era, I was one of those business people who went to ComputerLand to purchase an Apple ][ to run a single application: Visicalc. Did I use this ur-spreadsheet to do complex financial simulations? Heck no. Our business was growing like topsy. I wanted a database. Later on, I wasted countless hours learning to use PlanPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, and Quattro Pro, before being forced into the Excel camp. Not that we’re pals or anything, but I’ve talked with the guys who invented the genre: Dan Bricklin, Bob Frankston, Pete Peterson, Mitch Kapor, and Philippe Kahn. I have a smidgen of understanding of what a spreadsheet can do.
I predict that a lot of users are going to look at Google’s entry the same way we looked at Visicalc a quarter century ago. It lets you maintain a simple database, sort things, take totals, and do simplistic what-if analysis. Not bad for something that’s free.