Analyst: If You Want To Keep Your Job, Keep Using Microsoft Office

from the end-of-the-road dept

For a long time, Google insisted that it had no intention of competing directly against Microsoft in its core business areas, but as the company started to expand its online office suite, it became clear that the two companies would form a rivalry. That being said, few have argued that Google's office apps actually offer a substitute for MS Office (at least not yet), but rather that they work well in certain key areas. Nonetheless, one analyst is warning that deploying Google apps could be a potentially "career limiting" move for any enterprise architects. In other words, don't throw out your Office licenses just because you can save money going with Google. That might be good advice, except that it's basically just knocking down a straw man, as it's hard to imagine there are many people out there actually considering such a drastic course of action. What's funny is that the analyst then goes on to describe the 'limited' areas where Google's service might be useful; they include startups, small businesses, collaborative projects, and enterprise non-power users. It sure sounds like a large swath of the market could be well served by these tools by the analyst's own admission. Simply warning of dire consequences for anyone who puts too much confidence in Google doesn't really address the question.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    mpardasu, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 5:37pm

    Google Docs - MS Office

    I think that using Google Docs along with a free office suite like Open Office is more than sufficient and you dont "limit" your career or have the costs of MS licences.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Haywood, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 5:46pm

    I've been a Google fan boy from the start.

    But, another side of me says; if there is one place in all this that should be a monopoly, it would be office. Portability is the issue; We all need some format that can be read by virtually any computer in the world. I still remember when I was in the computer lab at school, disappointing students who had done their homework or project in another format and couldn't turn it in because the school computers were all on M.S.office. Even MS works generated stuff couldn't be used. If I had the program they used I could have opened it and at least copied and pasted it into Word.

     

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  3.  
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    Yup, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 5:49pm

    RE: Haywood

    What you are *really* hitting on is that there needs to be common document formats... open formats that will work with any of the main suites.

    Let them compete on ease of use and true features without the document format lock in and see where things go... things might get innovative again!

     

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  4.  
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    gee, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 6:24pm

    Re: RE: Haywood

    They tried that,MS didn't want to embrace the new open formats in their office 2007. Instead they tried to force their openxml down everyone else's throats

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 6:26pm

    Open Office is not enough

    This is an example. I do not have time or knowledge to write a full report on what the issues are.

    Why do business people, especially technical be they engineers, accounts or business people, not switch to Linux?

    First people engaged in business are not impressed with an operating system. They have a job to do and that is not programming computers. Simply said accounts do accounting, engineers build roads, bridges, buildings, electrical power systems et. Business people do communication and do contracts. Each requires special computer software which includes a world of software besides an office suit.

    Engineers are noted for using CAD programs. The standard for CAD is AutoCAD file format not AutoCAD the program just as the standard for office documents is MS office format In both cases other formats work very well. One can do CAD and Office documents in different formats besides AutoCAD and MS Office, save then and use them latter, BUT!, one can not share them with other individuals which are using a different file format.

    Open Office is a fine set of office tools which may replace MS Office in most cases and when it will not you are into some really weird stuff.

    But that is not enough.

    You are an engineer. You need CAD once, twice a week. You are not a designer working with CAD but you do need to make a few modifications and you do do this infrequently. Well one of the best CAD programs comes with most Linux distributions but it does not allow one to open and save in AutoCAD format so is completely useless to any engineer, which is all engineers, who need to share their work. One has a choice stick with Microsoft and buy AutoCAD light for $US 600.00 to $US 900.00 or buy a Linux/Unix CAD package for $US 6,000.00 or so. Or simply do with out.

    You are an accountant. You have the same issue as the engineer but it is accounting packages.

    What to do. Every body that I know sticks with Microsoft so that they can get some work done and not get fired for playing with an incomputable operating system all day.

     

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  6.  
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    am, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 6:52pm

    agreed

    i don't use any MS software anymore, but as a technology consultant, at this point i wouldn't tell my clients, "Use OpenOffice" or "Just use Google Apps!"

    i have heard stories of over-zealous IT managers have done this, and it resulted in a huge user backlash. Users care about one thing: being able to do their work, and work includes exchanging information with users outside their org. If as IT mamager you make this more difficult, you are not doing your job, no matter how much you hate MSFT.

    In my opinion, a hybrid approach is best at this point. Users who have never heard of a wiki, or don't realize that they can have their own site like Wikipedia, devoted to their organization, are almost blown away when I explain it to them. Wikis and collaboratively edited Google docs are a great way to go to manage some informationm, but you still need to have MS Office to fall back on for complicated layouts and spreadsheets.

    I am interested to know what other experienced people here think about switching over to GMail for small (and large?) organizations. Obviously there are risks, but Exchange and its FOSS alternatives bring risks of there own. Is Gmail viable at the enterprise level? I know some have switched, but was it premature?

     

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  7.  
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    Dosquatch, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 7:01pm

    Re: Haywood

    They tried that,MS didn't want to embrace

    This is a typical MS tactic. They'll open documents from products they know they can beat on the ground (wordperfect, for instance), but anything that might pose a real threat, like OO, they won't acknowledge. With a potentially more attractive option available, it does not behoove microsoft from a business standpoint to make it easier to migrate. That, and MSOffice isn't even very good at maintaining compatibility with different versions of itself, nevermind trying to do a common cross-product standard well.

    In my opinion, OO is very nearly as capable as MSOffice in most areas. MSOffice offers better "fit and finish", but not enough to warrant the price difference (several hundred vs. free). The big killer, though, is Access. As much of a bear as Access is, it is MILES better than the wonky, unstable tool of a database in OO.

     

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  8.  
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    andy, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 7:04pm

    PDF people

    A PDF can be read by anybody. More importantly, you can't change it. Papers, letters, contracts, reciepts, invoices, communication shouldn't be edited anyway. Even if both users use the same progame to edit it should be saved as a PDF anyway. Who ever creates the best looking document wins and everybody can see it.

     

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  9.  
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    Amos, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 7:31pm

    ...hypocrite...

    "Instead they tried to force their openxml down everyone else's throats"

    Are you complaining because a corporate player is trying to develop an open format just like all the "little guys" you seem to be so exited about? At least openxml is openly documented and available, unlike those old .doc file formats. Microsoft is finally moving forwared a bit. It sounds like you're just bitter that MS is something you think only other companies should be allowed to do: create an open format.

     

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  10.  
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    Christopher Ford, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 7:36pm

    The format that google apps uses is a truly portable format. I work for a small venture capital firm (55 people) in SF and we have been trying the google apps experiment since march. So far no real problems, but I do wish it had a better spreadsheet app. The portability thing really hit me in June when I was reviewing and re-editting some imortant documents... at an internet cafe in Prague.

    I was on vacation but the work just couldn't wait. I was collaborating with 4 other people back home and everything was truely seemless.

    We are looking forward to the next gen of google apps and we sure as hell are not looking back at MS Office Pro Deluxe Vista edition or whatever it will be.

     

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  11.  
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    chauncey, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 7:47pm

    The point about Access is well taken but MS Word is a blotted POS and every itteration gets ridiculously worse. Thank good they only update it 3 times a decade. And Powerpoint is a stagnant joke. Even without Open office or Google Apps, ms office should die.

     

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  12.  
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    Wilhelm Klink, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 7:56pm

    let it go

    The "everyone is using it" excuse no longer holds any water. I think Adobe could revolutionize things if they made a version of Acrobat Lite. It would be able to edit PDFs like Acrobat does now but without all the publishing overhead. I think it could be the dominant product in less than one year.

    Micro$loth has run its course in every conceivable way. In the last 10 years it has only stolen ideas (Zune, Xbox, Vista's OS X features) or re-hashed (Vista, Office Suite, etc.). But I guess as long as it sells, there is no need to inovate.... Can't wait for Halo 3.

     

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  13.  
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    fake-crush-quiz, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 7:58pm

    UMM

    what about open office i mean come on I've used both MS Office and Open Office each for at least four years and Open Office is not only free but its ten times better and easy to use. Why doesn't anyone ever mention OpenOffice as a valid competitor with MS Office when it is clearly taking over at least a small portion of the market...?

     

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  14.  
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    Gozer, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 8:00pm

    Re: ...hypocrite...

    you are the hypocrite and idiot. MS isn't CREATING anything remotely close to an open format. Do a little reading, buddy.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 8:38pm

    Re: Why do business people not switch to Linux?

    Because there is software that requires Windows - aside from the "office" applications.

    For instance my company uses an integrated package that handles:
    Order Entry
    Accts Payable
    Acct's Receivable
    Payroll
    Bill of Material
    Invoicing
    Job Costing
    Invetry management
    and other functions.

    It requires Windows, and if you have MS Office, it does even more nice tricks.

    Software companies build for Windows because (mostly) everyone has it. Although Open Office does a good job of translating from Word, etc. it doesn't do as good as Word itself. We are in business to do business, not to mess around with minority software products.

    We paid for the Office license one time only, and do not update from Office 2000 to Office XP to Office 2007 because their is simply no reason to do it. Support? For Office? Who needs it!

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 8:47pm

    Re: Exchange

    It may not work for very large companies; but we don't use Exchange.

    Our ISP provides us with web mail, which we ignore. We use Outlook and download from our webmail boxes. Webmail is there for travelers and emergencies, and they also filter for spam.

    So when I send email to the guy down the hall and it goes by way of Sri Lanka - who cares. I don't see a downside after 5 years this way, and I don't have to administer an Exchange Server.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 8:56pm

    Try the CutePDF line. Unbeleievable how good, and low priced as well.

    The CutePDF writer is free and excellent. They have many other great products. No need to pay Adobe prices.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    kuronoir, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 10:47pm

    Re: Re: Exchange

    exchange is a different thing then office. If you don't have exchange you have no idea what features in outlook/sharepoint you are missing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Banana Froth, Aug 23rd, 2007 @ 11:04pm

    C'mon guys, think like a business for once instead of some happy rainbow world full of free open source applications.

    Microsoft develops its own open standard and you bitch about it.

    Microsoft doesn't make its software compatible with a little used (and FREE) office application which is essentially a direct competitor (did I mention it is free?) and you are surprised? Why on Earth would they want to do this? How could it possibly generate more sales of office? Why don't we just ask them to give office away?

     

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  20.  
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    Paul`, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 12:24am

    Re: Re: Haywood

    OO isn't that great. On almost all occasions I have used it I found it clumsy and laggy (might have been the systems though)

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 12:44am

    .txt

    joking, joking!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 1:44am

    Re: ...hypocrite...

    >> Are you complaining because a corporate player is trying to develop an open format

    It's not open when you wrap an xml tag around a flag that says, "do it like in word 4.2"

    That is not an open standard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 1:50am

    Re:

    Actually, coming from a unix world, where everything is text and all the tools work directly on text files, yes please, give me everything in txt format, thank you. A lot of times in the old days I used to run 'strings' on word documents to just extract the text from them so I could read them without peoples crappy formating.

    HTML and XML files are just text files. They seem to have created a pretty cool thing called the world wide web. It's what most people think the internet is.

     

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  24.  
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    What planet are you on, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 5:29am

    Re: PDF people

    Anybody can change a pdf with the right tools, I have over 6 different, even remove all security. You should do some research before spouting stupidity.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Tim, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 6:22am

    what we really need

    is the ability to eat someone else's work. We would digest their work output and it would immediately become clear to us what the authors intent, point, or results are. Conversely we would don our work Helmut and whatever we thought of would magically be created for others to consume. We could offer low fat versions as well.

     

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  26.  
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    Mike4, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 6:45am

    Re: PDF people

    A PDF can be read by anybody. More importantly, you can't change it. Papers, letters, contracts, reciepts, invoices, communication shouldn't be edited anyway.

    PDF documents are very easy to edit - sometimes even more so than Word. Of course, the average user probably doesn't know this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    Guy Creese, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 7:21am

    Trust Me, Enterprises Are Thinking About It

    I wrote the report you mention, and I must say I was surprised at how many large enterprises were enticed by the thought of Google Apps replacing Microsoft Office, based on inquiries we got from Burton Group clients after Google's announcement. The soundbite of "$50 per user" really hit home, and a lot of task forces were put together to look at it.

    At this point, I think the initial honeymoon is over. I talked to a large insurance company several months ago that had looked at Google Apps and had found some of the holes I mentioned--no real records management, the lack of roles making security assignment tedious, etc. They told me that when they brought these issues up with the sales rep, his reply was, "Don't worry. We'll get to that. You should buy now. After all, we're Google." (As if a well-recognized brand fixes all problems.)

    So, in reply to your comment, "...it's hard to imagine there are many people out there actually considering such a drastic course of action," there are. However, at this point they're just considering, or have stopped considering.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 8:40am

    Re: I've been a Google fan boy from the start.

    a monopoly is never acceptable...as far as portability goes, there's ODT, the Open Office standards for all MS Office type documents...

    and even though the school computers were all on M.S. office, I don't see how that would prevent anybody from mailing in (or copying to disk) any type of document which isn't a M$ Office document...sure, teachers might need to do/install something to be able to read the homework/project, but don't blame the school computers being all on MS office for homework/projects being refused...

     

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  29.  
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    DUH, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 8:44am

    Re: ...hypocrite...

    M$ is not creating an open format/standard, which makes one wonder...are you a hypocrite for pretending not to know that, or an idiot for not knowing it...

     

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  30.  
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    Old IT guy, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 8:47am

    Hubris goeth before a fall

    In 1977 it was "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM". IBM almost lost themselves to this dominance. They went WAY down and are still struggling to rebuild.

    In 2007 it seems to be "Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft". Watch for the pattern to repeat.

    No, it's not Google web apps, yet... but it will be something.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    SailorRipley, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: Why do business people not switch to Linux

    Open Office good job of translating from Word, etc. it doesn't do as good as Word itself.

    You don't know this(understandably, after reading your last paragraph) but: Open Office does a better job translating from Word, etc... than Word/office does (from one version to the next), even though it's their own (previous version of the) documents.

     

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  32.  
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    SailorRipley, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: PDF people

    isn't circumventing/removing all that security a violation of the DMCA?

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    SailorRipley, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 9:51am

    Re:

    C'mon Banana Froth, think like an individual with some brain cells for once instead of some happy MS shill against a world full of free open source applications.

    Microsoft did/is not develop(ing) its own open standard and that's what everyone is bitching about...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why do business people not switch to L

    As I tried to point out in the parent comment the show stoper is not Open Office but is the other REQUIRED functions that have to be done that one can not do in Apple or Linux due to the unavability of user software like cad and accounting packages that will read and write to the quasi standard MS third party formats.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Why do business people not switch

    Fortunately, more people are becoming aware of the need to develop for multiple formats. I think in the near future, we will begin seeing single-OS compatible software going the way of "to best view this website, use ie or else," i.e. the way of the dinosaurs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2007 @ 8:05pm

    Re: single-OS compatible software

    C'mon. It's about money. There has to be plenty of potential users to port for "other" OSs.

    It's the impossible dream for the foreseeable future.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    claire rand, Aug 25th, 2007 @ 2:41am

    the problem isn't pdf file, it isn't editing documents either

    yes these can both be done reasonably well.

    and for sending inal documents to clients etc pdf works well.

    the 'issue' is that if I email you an excel file with macros in it, that use vba... can you open it? use it? edit it? and send it back with revisions and it still work?

    word isn't the best WP out there, keynote wipes the floor with powerpoint generally. but so far I've found nothing that even comes close to excel.

    pity cus I hate the way its ever so slightly non standard, e.g. the annoying way it misuses the clipboard etc.

    but until someone cracks a spreadsheet that is 100% compatable with excel files in terms of macros forget it.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Cynyr, Aug 25th, 2007 @ 9:28am

    Re: ...hypocrite...

    "Are you complaining because a corporate player is trying to develop an open format just like all the "little guys" you seem to be so exited about? At least openxml is openly documented and available, unlike those old .doc file formats."

    While that may be true, documented != open. last i had heard was that there were bits and pieces of the xml standard that are patented by MS, as well as things in the spec because excel can't do leap years correctly.

     

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  39.  
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    help me understand, Aug 20th, 2008 @ 6:59pm

    conversations

    Can someone please tell me how google apps is better than ms outlook for handling email conversations that can go up to 15-20 conversations. I'm not talking about a clean IT project. I work for a large organization that just switched to google mail from ms outlook. since i'm a user, not an IT person, i don't like gmail at all. outlook was much better organized. there are search capabilities. you don't miss a conversation loop. you can have 15 emails opened at one time to refer back as necessary. you could attach any type of file. you could sort your inbox much easier. you clearly knew who sent what where when. with conversations the multiple scrolling bars and stacked messages are so confusing. I can't even begin to figure out what's what. there are some that are just between me and one person and some that are me and 5 people. please someone help me understand. thanks!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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