Saturday, March 11, 2006

And so Writely sold...

Google acquires Upstartle, the tiny silicon valley startup that made a pretty neat little in-browser word processor.

Naturally, everyone's abuzz with Microsoft vs Google talk, and how Microsoft have got it all wrong trying to beat google at their own game, and how they should stick to what they do best, and whatever.

Personally, I think that it makes some sense to move the office productivity stuff onto the web. The more stuff I can do on the web, the better, as long as it's not a hassle. That's the key, I think. If I have to install stuff, and poke around with any configuration at all, then the whole thing is a dumb idea. But the technology isn't really the issue here.

But if the focus is true zero-footprint, nothing installed, just write a letter to your mom and save it from wherever you are office suite, then we've got something. Something that might just be the next wave not so much in technology, but in business development models.

Naturally, Google will want to give it away, and have it sponsored by those nice non-intrusive ads. Microsoft, on the other hand, don't have an ad revenue model - so they can't really give it away - and office is such a crucial part of their revenue model. So now the very strategy that they used to crush Netscape in the early nineties ('who can compete with free?') is threatening their most precious business.

Interesting times...

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