Microsoft Office is the leader in German offices, with a market share of around 85% of office software. The situation is similar in the rest of Europe and the USA. In addition to the classic offline version, the online version Microsoft 365 has also existed since 2011. The fact that the strongest competitor in recent years is Google Sheets, of all things, once again illustrates the monopolistic structures of modern platform economies. Of course, this also has an impact on data protection and privacy. In this article, we will show you how ViOffice, in partnership with Collabora Ltd., offers a sustainable and secure solution.
Which features do common Office packages include?
The terms office package or office suite refer to common software that is used for daily office work. This includes in particular programs for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. Sometimes also various groupware programs, such as calendars, address books, mail clients or task boards are associated with the term. Here we would like to limit ourselves to the first-mentioned functions, although we at ViOffice also offer an extensive range for such purposes.
Comparison: ViOffice Sheets vs. Microsoft 365
ViOffice is an official partner of the British company Collabora Ltd., which specializes in the provision, development and consulting of open source software for professional needs. With the world’s largest team of developers, they are significantly involved in the further development and support of the Free Software office suite LibreOffice. LibreOffice was spun off from the well-known office suite OpenOffice in 2010 by the Berlin-based The Document Foundation and has since been independently developed and improved. Read more in our blog article “Sustainable partnership: Collabora Ltd. & ViOffice”.
1. Extensive Document Types & Formats
ViOffice Sheets is thus significantly based on Collabora Office. With it, text documents, spreadsheets and presentation slides can be viewed, modified and created. These documents are by default in open document formats (odt, ods, odp). In addition, all common, even non-free, formats are easily compatible with ViOffice Sheets or Collabora Office. In particular, the formats doc and docx, xls and xlsx as well as ppt and pptx are to be emphasized. In addition, ViOffice Sheets includes programs for creating diagrams and a useful whiteboard function. Microsoft’s competing offer does not provide these solutions.
2. Collaborative Work with Collabora Office & ViOffice Sheets
Our Office services can be used cross-platform with authenticated people or completely anonymously and publicly. The online version of Microsoft Office, i.e. Microsoft 365, can also be used collaboratively. However, this is only possible for authenticated persons.
3. Free, Open Source Software
The terms Open Source and Free Software are software licenses that fulfill the following four freedoms: The freedom to use the software, the freedom to understand it, the freedom to distribute it, and the freedom to improve it. So not only do we rely on open document formats, but the source code of our software is also completely transparent to view and does not create unilateral dependencies on our services.
4. No Monopolies – Support Your Local
The formation of monopolies in the digital economy is a well-known problem that is closely related to non-free software, among other things. This is because the use of such software often leads to long-term dependence on the well-known global corporations. This is also called the ‘vendor lock-in’. These dependencies in turn usually result in the possibility of serious privacy and data protection intrusions.
With ViOffice Sheets, we offer a fully functional office solution that does not target these dependencies. ViOffice was founded on the conviction to present a socially and ecologically sustainable alternative that actively opposes market power and promotes digital self-determination.
5. Sustainability – Socially & ecologically
Our servers are located in Germany and are powered by 100% renewable energy. Microsoft obtains its energy from a variety of sources, including a significant portion from gas, coal, and nuclear power.
In order to create a social balance, we offer special conditions for non-profit associations and organizations as well as pupils and students.
6. Data Protection in the Online Office
All our servers are located in Germany. Thus, we ensure that German and European data protection standards, in particular the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), must always be complied with. The European GDPR is one of the strictest data protection regulations in the world and applies in all EU member states, including Germany. We do not share any data with third parties and no document leaves our server at any time. Also, our software can be run on your own infrastructure for complete data control.
Like all large digital companies, Microsoft operates servers all over the world. The storage locations of your specific information are unclear and are not necessarily subject to European law, or compliance with data protection standards can no longer be controlled. In addition, the non-transparent source code does not make it clear which technical background activities are carried out when using Microsoft 365.
How to Get ViOffice Sheets
We welcome everyone who wants to use our services, whether they are individuals, associations or companies. ViOffice takes the technical burden of running your own platform off your shoulders by hosting, maintaining and regularly backing up the services, so you can focus on what’s important to you. We are also happy to host the Office service on your own servers. The price starts at less than 1 € per month and can be viewed transparently on our website. Associations receive special support from us through discounted rates. You are welcome to test ViOffice Sheets for 4 weeks free of charge and without obligation.
Our business model is not based on selling your private data to third parties, but on a fair exchange of the offered service. We are completely independent and base our prices significantly on our actual costs.
Pascal founded ViOffice together with Jan in the fall of 2020. He mainly takes care of marketing, finance and sales. After his degrees in political science, economics and applied statistics, he continues to work in scientific research. With ViOffice, he wants to provide access to secure software from Europe for everyone and especially support non-profit associations in their digitalization.