Sunday, March 12, 2006

Writely Now Part of Emerging Google Office, Who Looses?

As I was catching up on what was going on outside the ETech microclimate, I came across this gem. Google has purchased Writely. For those of you who may not know Writely is a web based word processor. So this adds another application to the emerging Google Office offering. So the next move, besides launching a calendar, should be to buy or develop a spreadsheet. If and when Google launches their calendar and storage they are well on their way to competing with other office suites. This is a great thing especially since google can offer the tools for free, using Adsense to pay for it all. I have one concern. Much in the same way Linux hurt other UNIX companies more than Microsoft in terms of market share, I think the emergent Google Office may knock the wind out of efforts like OpenOffice. Why download the Open Office distribution and install it, when you can just browse to a few URLs? Too easy, right? I mean if you are going to start using another office suite wouldn't you rather have one that is essentially a zero-footprint service as opposed to yet another fat application clogging your hard drive, requiring maintenance and upgrades? Once the issue of using these tools while disconnected is solved, I think it's curtains for big software suites that don't have an online strategy. Microsoft knows this which is why they are launching Office Live. What they are going to do about existing MS Office revenue lost to Office Live and Google Office is a mystery but Office Live is clearly a sign that they don't want to become roadkill. I can't be so optimistic for Open Office who while they have been showing more promise lately may end up a knight in shining armor showing up on a battle field filled with lightly armored crossbow men, dead meat in a can.

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