Services & Software

Reader poll: Spreadsheets could erode Excel user base

Many Excel users might migrate to Google Spreadsheets, other options, according to an informal poll.

Following the release of Google Spreadsheets, Microsoft may find it difficult to retain some of its Excel spreadsheet users, according to an informal CNET poll.

Thirty percent of readers who responded to the poll indicated they would make the switch from Microsoft's Excel program to Google Spreadsheets, which debuted earlier this week.

In addition, another 40 percent of the 1,891 readers participating in the poll said they might be interested in alternatives to Microsoft Office, which includes Excel, Word and other programs.

Google's Web-based spreadsheet is designed to allow users to read and simultaneously edit information while engaging in an "in-document" chat. Google Spreadsheets will also support the import and export of .xls-formatted documents used in Excel.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see higher uptake of Google Spreadsheets than anyone anticipated," said a reader who used the name "

Other readers said they envision using both Google Spreadsheets and Excel, rather than dumping Excel.

"I've been trying Google's spreadsheet program, and it seems pretty good. It's not as full-featured as Excel, but the collaboration features are quite nice," a reader named "ablocker" said in a posting. "I can see using it when I want to edit a sheet as a group. (It) seems far better than e-mail exchanges or clustering around a screen. I can see using Google's emerging suite alongside Office for collaboration and working on essential files from the road."

One reader, however, advocated using OpenOffice, an open-source office suite, rather than Google Spreadsheets or Microsoft Office.

"Why spend hundreds of dollars on solutions from Microsoft...when you can achieve perhaps even better results (than this Google Spreadsheets) with a $49 Solution," said a reader going by the name of "Captain Spock."

Still, other readers said Google's latest offering does not make much sense for them.

"Google thinks that everything that is on the Web is cool...I am using Office 2007 beta 2 at the moment and there is no way that I would switch to some crippled product, even if it's free," a reader going by the name "Alenas" said in a posting on the site.