The tyranny of Microsoft Excel may finally be over

Spreadsheet The Rows company has launched a new desktop application in beta, in an attempt to undermine the dominance of Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets.

The company released the beta stealthily in December, but has now gone public with native apps for Windows and macOS. Tech Radar Pro can reveal.

Until now, Rows was available exclusively as a web application, which limited performance. However, the company says the new desktop version will support complex, large-scale sheets as efficiently as market leaders, while providing a foundation for features only available with Rows.

Spreadsheets, but different

The central philosophy of Project Rows is that the spreadsheet software market is ripe for disruption. The duopoly of Microsoft and Google has led to a dearth of innovation, the company believes, leaving the door wide open for an ambitious challenger.

“Let’s face it. Spreadsheets suck,” said Humberto Ayres Pereira, co-founder and CEO of Rows. modern working world.

The company did not shy away from its ambitions to overthrow the incumbents. As part of a recent marketing campaign, Rows rented a billboard near Microsoft headquarters and erected a sign that read, “Dear Microsoft, your spreadsheet has been around for 36 years. It’s time to retire. And Google received the same treatment.

To understand what sets Rows apart from all other spreadsheets, we spoke to Renan Araújo, who leads the development of the desktop app. Although Rows offers all the familiar spreadsheet functionality – cells, rows, columns, functions, tables, etc. – the service differs from Excel and Sheets in a few crucial ways, he told us.


Rows co-founders Humberto Ayres Pereira (left) and Torben Schulz (right). (Image credit: Lines)

More importantly, Rows focused on the ability to integrate third-party APIs into spreadsheets, with little to no coding expertise required. In practice, this means that someone could easily pull data from services as diverse as Twitter, Stripe, and Google Analytics into their sheets, in a way that would require proficiency in Excel.

Row spreadsheets can also be set to update at regular intervals. In one example Araújo showed us, a spreadsheet was set to update every 60 seconds with new Amazon Marketplace price information, allowing for real-time price comparison.

Another unique feature is the ability to turn Rows spreadsheets into simple web applications which can then be released to the public. For example, someone could turn a line sheet into a landing page that gathers information from customers, without having to meddle with HTML and JavaScript or pay for a third-party service.

“Building spreadsheets is a kind of programming – it’s a visual programming language,” Araújo said. “But bringing that kind of flexibility to spreadsheets takes things to a whole new level.”

Elephant in the room

The main problem Rows faces is the extent to which Microsoft and Google services are integrated into the professional world, creating a platform effect that can be difficult to overcome.

Excel and Sheets are just small parts of much larger software and service packages that encompass E-mail, productivity tools, calendar, collaborative software, online storage, vpn and more.

In the case of Microsoft, the company is able to establish synergies between products that extend to the Windows operating system on which most business computers Course.

As a result, companies like Rows need to convince potential buyers that their service not only lives up to existing apps, but also offers enough additional value to justify the extra expense line on the balance sheet.

With less than 4,000 weekly users, Rows is currently a chip on the heels of the giants. But the user base has grown rapidly since the start of the year, and the company is confident in its growth prospects, despite significant headwinds.


(Image credit: Lines)

When asked why the company thought its spreadsheet software would succeed where others had failed, we were told that changing market conditions had combined with product innovation to create a window of opportunity for Rows.

“The proof we’re seeing is that our two biggest innovations (integrated integrations and sharing as a website) are powerful enough drivers to drive large teams to adopt a new spreadsheet,” said Henrique Cruz, Head of growth at Rows.

“Over the past 15 years, there have been three very significant shifts in the configuration of work (mobile first, API and explosion of SaaS, and asynchronous first), and we are the first company to create a worksheet pure calculation for this new world.”

To bridge the gap with Microsoft and Google, Rows will rely heavily on virality. In other words, the company intends to let its product do the talking.

Like other SaaS offerings, Rows is available for free for those who want to dip a toe in the water. And while the desktop beta is missing a handful of features (e.g. graphics), the company says it aims to achieve parity with the web service by the end of the year.

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