Archive for the ‘microsoft’ Category

Google Gears – any guessing who will come next?

May 30, 2007

Google have announced a platform for building offline capable web applications (Scoble covers the details well). I think everyone has noticed the inherant problem that SaaS desktop applications only work online (in fact, even I posted about offline problems with SaaS a couple of months ago), but this now removes that barrier.

This is a huge deal – it really challenges he traditional software model – and Microsoft must be a little concerned about how this impacts MS Office!

Scoble, also just posted an update that someone else is “going offline” tomorrow. With all the talks of acquisitions lately I’m hoping that it’s salesforce.com. Now that would be something!

<update> So I guess I got that one wrong – looks like Real Networks have taken video content offline. I’d still love to see SFC do the same.

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Software as a Service or Software plus Service?

February 27, 2007

At the risk of contradicting myself, I think Ray Ozzie is onto something with the Software plus Service approach. 

One of the current issues with SaaS for desktop apps is the lack of support for disconnected users. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Google apps doesn’t have a PowerPoint equivalent yet – how many times have you made last minute changes to your presentation on the plane -)

“Software plus services” seems to be a sensible choice for desktop applications at this point in time. However, I suspect this will change once we have broadband connections from our aisle seats.

<update> There’s an interesting announcement today from Corel, who seem to have already launched a hybrid software plus service application. 

Google caught in a hailstorm?

February 22, 2007

With the launch of Google hosted applications that compete with Microsoft Office, it seems natural to look at the history of hosted apps to see if Google Apps will really threaten Microsoft. Mary Jo Foley  compares Google Apps to Microsoft’s 2001 hailstorm service. She has some good points, and anyone launching a hosted service will face the IT department’s resistance to letting go of company data. However, I also think that things have changed significantly in the 6 years since hailstorm and I think that Google will get a much better reception in 2007. So why do I think things will be different this time around?

  • The need to share information outside of the corporate network is bigger than ever. In order to do business, companies need to communicate quickly and efficiently with their geographically dispersed colleagues, suppliers, partners and customers. We all know that emailing large spreadsheets around is a poor way to manage information and an efficient alternative will be welcomed by information workers.
  • SAAS has also become part of the IT manager’s scorecard. The use of portals, and application servers means that they are used to working with data that sits outside of their control, so the tight grip on company data is loosening slightly.
  • There are clear precedents for outsourced applications (the obvious one being salesforce.com, whose subscribers only really started to take off in 2004/5).
  • And finally, I’ve seen a huge change in the way that IT is adopted by companies. BlackBerries, iPods and RSS all began their life in the hands of the end-user, and IT departments had to adapt to the ever increasing demands of their clients. IT departments are becoming more service oriented (I wonder if this has anything to do with the increased offshoring of IT). And if they’re not service oriented, then users are willing to go elsewhere. (I’ve just got off the phone from a client who was complaining that it took 6 months for their internal IT team to update the fields of one of her databases. She’s now looking to outsource it (and host it externally) so that she can get more responsive updates.

That’s not to say that Google Apps is going to have it easy. Attitudes towards enterprise outsourcing are changing, as the business benefits become clearer, but there still a long way to go before the default choice is to rent your application over the internet.

Has Google won the SAAS prize?

January 3, 2007

There’s an article in the Economist this week that paints a convincing picture of outsourcing your email (and Office applications) to Google. The software as a service trend is no longer on the fringe, and with Googles agressive aquisitions they’ve got to be a real threat not just to Microsoft, but to anyone who is building software as a packaged product.

Do any of you have experience of GMail, salesforce.com or another SAAS, and if so how did it compare to your desktop experience?

Windows Live slowly starts to make sense

May 2, 2006

If you’ve been as confused as I have about what Microsoft is trying to do with it’s Live products, there are some interesting pointers in Redmondmag. The exciting thing is that MS really are creating a developer platform for the Live services. There’s an example of this on Channel 9 – where they show some examples of applications built on the MSN Messenger API. During the interview they make reference to another interesting site – worlds best apps.

Interesting stuff – even if it isn’t fully baked yet.

Microsoft Origami – how to NOT do customer evidence

February 27, 2006

If any of you have been following the Microsoft Origami saga, this is a good example of how not to promote your customer work.

Microsoft are allegedly releasing a new product codenamed origami. They’ve put together a web site to create a buzz around the launch. In an unusual move for Microsoft they’re trying to do this in a viral way – the actual announcement isn’t happening until March 2, and the site isn’t giving too much away. However, Digital Kitchen (a nu meeja shop) post examples of their client work on their web site – including a product video for the Origami product (a handheld device)!

Needless to say, DK took the video down pretty quickly, but not fast enough – it’s now been captured by lots of other sites and it’s doing the rounds of the blogs.

You’ve got to hope that this was a deliberate ploy by MS, otherwise someone at DK’s going to be feeling pretty unhappy.

Microsoft spends $120 million to show it’s not “huge”

January 23, 2006

You’ve gotta love the opening paragraph of this article in the PI:

Microsoft Corp., the world’s biggest software maker, will spend $120 million a year on an advertising campaign to fight its image as “a huge American company.”