According to a new survey of 600 “PC users” (and see here) by the NPD Group, 73 percent of Americans have “never heard of, never tried” web-based productivity software replacements for Microsoft Office. Roughly 21 percent have heard of but still never tried these alternatives, which include Google Docs and Zoho.
A tiny minority comprising 2.5 percent have tried and used these tools to varying degrees. It would thus seem that Microsoft Office has nothing to worry about for the time being. (New York Times writer Damon Darlin tried Google Docs for a month and writes favorably about the experience.)
It’s not clear whether the NPD data can be generalized to the U.S. population of PC users (roughly 225 million) as a whole. For the moment, let’s assume they can be. If so, 2.5 percent of that population would represent roughly 5.6 million users. That’s not too bad in real number terms, but it’s a tiny group when compared with Windows/Office’s 90+ percent market share on the desktop.
If Google is serious about Docs and consumer/enterprise adoption, it will have to take a long-term view of the opportunity.
In a related story, Google is working with a school district in Arizona to tailor a version of Google Docs to the needs of the school district and K-12 aged kids.