An app that allows mobile device users to get more productivity out of their smartphones and tablets is now a part of Google.
The fast-expanding search giant has gobbled up Quickoffice for an undisclosed sum, announcing on its official blog Tuesday that the smaller company, "a leader in office productivity solutions," will now be part of Google's application offerings.
The Quickoffice announcement comes a day after Google announced it had acquired Meebo, a company founded in 2005 that places a content-sharing bar on many popular Web sites. That price tag was reported as $100 million.
"Today, consumers, businesses and schools use Google Apps to get stuff done from anywhere, with anyone and on any device," wrote Alan Warren, Google's engineering director, on the Quickoffice deal.
"Quickoffice has an established track record of enabling seamless interoperability with popular file formats, and we'll be working on bringing their powerful technology to our Apps product suite."
Quickoffice allows editing and creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations that are compatible with Microsoft Office documents,
The move is widely seen as a way for Mountain View, Calif.-based Google to counter the imminent arrival of Microsoft's Office productivity suite on mobile devices running Apple's iOS and Google's Android. Microsoft Office includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, OneNote and other programs, although it's unclear how many of those will make it into the new iOS and Android versions.
A version of Office is already available for Microsoft's Windows Mobile and Windows Phone devices.
Dan Shey, practice director of Mobile Services for ABI Research ,told us Quickoffice has benefited from good timing.
"When they first came out with their mobile office product in the early 2000s, Nokia wanted an enterprise app for their enterprise-class devices," Shey said.
"Nokia spec'd Quickoffice as a preloaded app on every enterprise Nokia smartphone, and later more operators added Quickoffice as a preloaded app for their enterprise smartphones."
Shey said he was told by Quickoffice executives a year ago that the company estimated that it was installed on over 350 million devices and was growing by 90 percent over five years.
"Last year their solution moved into the cloud," Shey said. "Given their presence and cloud services, Google's acquisition is not a surprise."
A New Chapter
In a statement on the Quickoffice site, co-founder and CEO Alan Masarek wrote: "We worked very hard to build Quickoffice as a user friendly, seamless and yet powerful way to view, edit, sync and share documents anywhere, anytime....Now we are ushering in a new chapter with Google. By combining the magic of Google's intuitive solutions with Quickoffice's powerful products, our shared vision for anytime, anywhere productivity can only grow."
It remains to be seen whether the advent of Microsoft Office for mobile will make Quickoffice obsolete. Charles King of Pund-IT doesn't believe it will.
"Quickoffice provides enough functionality to read/edit Office documents on the fly on phones/tablets, which is what most (if not a large majority of) users want," King told us. "Plus, over time, Google could (and probably will) add Quickoffice features to Google Docs.
"If nothing else, a workable alternative like Quickoffice is likely to force Microsoft to be more flexible in Office mobile configurations and/or more aggressive in pricing. In both cases, Google wins a bit and Microsoft hurts a bit, which translates into a win for Google."