bye bye TurboExcel

And hello Calc4Web.

SavvySoft have changed the name of TurboExcel to Calc4Web. (I hope OpenOffice and Computer Associates (do they still exist) don’t mind).

SavvySoft view here

Microsoft view here

This has been an ongoing trademark dispute, that should worry anyone who uses ‘Excel’ as part of their product name. Interestingly based on the MikeRoweSoft case I wonder if the use of ‘XL’ is a bit of a potential target too? (I think he got an Xbox as settlement – I hope he got some games bundled!)

The blurb says amicable, I hope it was.

I’m not convinced its in Microsofts best interest to go after members of the ecosystem that surrounds their products, maybe I’m missing something. In a way I think the law kind of forces the hand of trademark holders – if you don’t vigorously defend your trademarks, you may lose them. What other *Excel or Excel* (or *Excel*) products do you know of that might be at risk?

‘Calc4Web’ converts spreadsheets into C++, giving you the options of compiling into an xll, or a dll, or even a .net assembly. This is a great migration path, have your business user prototype in Excel then click the button to convert into a compiled component. To me that would probably encourage use of Excel. And from a risk/quality POV, it makes loads of sense, use Excel for what its good at, then convert to something more secure/robust for production.

I’m hoping to get a play around with this product over the summer, I’ve heard good reports. Anyone here using it? (you might need to get a patch to fix up those dialog box titles!)

Cheers

Simon

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7 Responses to “bye bye TurboExcel”

  1. MikeC Says:

    Interesting regards the name battles. There are a lot of companies in the UK who use the name “Excel” (over 100 in the UK according to Yell.com, such as Excel Plumbing, Excel Parking etc) – I wonder if MS will go after them next because they use spreadsheets within their company??

  2. Ross Says:

    I Don’t understands how MS can get away with this? – They won the MikeRowSoft one, but didn’t do so well with Linspire?

    I’ve not used TurboExcel. I guess it works only for wks formulas. Someone was talking about SpreadSheets gear recently and said they it only works for wsk formulas, but they develop a product that works with VBA too. I may be begin to lose the plot here but I thought that’s what he said?

  3. Charles Says:

    When I launched FastExcel in 2001 Microsoft had not requested/registered a trademark for Excel (they did have one for the Excel logo).

    I think the problem with TurboExcel is that because it could be regarded as an an alternative to Excel it should not have a similar name (I think the technical term for this kind of problem is ‘Passing-Off’). Since FastExcel is an Excel addin that REQUIRES Excel in order to function it does not have this problem.

    Similiarly Excel Plumbing should not have a problem because they are not usually regarded as an alternative to a spreadsheet!

  4. Stephane Rodriguez Says:

    I’ll second Charles. Turbo Excel does not use Excel, so it was competing with Microsoft : since it’s been a long time that the paranoid freaks at Microsoft have taken over the engineering groups, that’s how bad the situation is for anyone out there.

    Another example is Aspose Excel. Also not built on top of Excel. Now known as Aspose Cells.

    Ironically enough, if you sell a product on the MS Office Marketplace, you have to comply to a couple of basic rules, one being that your product requires one of the MS Office applications. In other words, you are welcome if you sell a product that sells even more MS Office licenses. Not surprising since Microsoft is a commercial company, but still, it leaves to desire as what Microsoft means when they speak partners and ecosystem.

    As for the trademark, it’s hypocrisy. For instance, one of the rules related to trademark to get your product added to the MS Office Marketplace is that it indeed respects Microsoft trademarks. In the case of what we know as “Excel”, the actual trademark is “Microsoft Excel”, not “Excel”.

    Also take a look at USPTO trademarks on “Excel” (http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=toc&state=3v46j5.1.1&p_search=searchss&p_L=50&BackReference=&p_plural=yes&p_s_PARA1=&p_tagrepl%7E%3A=PARA1%24LD&expr=PARA1+AND+PARA2&p_s_PARA2=excel&p_tagrepl%7E%3A=PARA2%24COMB&p_op_ALL=AND&a_default=search&a_search=Submit+Query&a_search=Submit+Query).

  5. Dennis Wallentin Says:

    Never underestimate the legal concern of large corporates when it comes to trademarks. They got a bunch of well paid lawyers who make no excuses when they write ‘friendly’ letters to other corporates.

    The good news is that they don’t make any difference between large and super micro corporates…

    TurboExcel is still too expensive in view of my needs so I can’t make any comments about it’s pros and cons.

    Kind regards,
    Dennis

  6. Sue Rosen Says:

    Calc4Web/TurboExcel is most definitely an Excel addin and it most definitely REQUIRES Excel in order to use it. It also secures & speeds up Excel spreadsheets and converts VBA.

  7. Harlan Grove Says:

    Calc4Web isn’t likely to sell more copies of Excel since the companies that could afford to hire developers to fill out the rough corners would almost certainly have bought all its non developer users an Office license.

    OTOH, I could see how this product could eat large chunks out of the potential Excel Services market share.

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