The Mad Dash For Online Word Processors

from the here-they-come dept

It was inevitable in the wake of Google buying Writely, but it seems that plenty of other web-based word processor clones are now trying to get some attention in the hopes of being bought by someone else. One slightly different story, however, comes from Michael Robertson, who has now launched AjaxWrite — which seems right up his alley. People have incredibly strong opinions about Robertson as a person — but he certainly knows how to pick his enemies. Almost every business he starts (and he starts a lot) is basically designed to target a big name competitor, and basically undercut that competitor’s market by a huge margin — often in disruptive ways. He’s launched businesses that fit this description over and over and over again. Still, the “ajax” word processor market is already pretty crowded already (though, at mixed quality levels) and it’s still not entirely clear what it takes to get people to use such tools. Writely, for all its funky features, mainly seemed to catch on because it added a collaborative piece, allowing multiple people to all edit a document remotely. As a collaboration tool, that’s quite handy. Robertson’s AjaxWrite, on the other hand, just seems focused on offering up a quick and dirty, web-based, word processor. It certainly could be useful in a pinch for those who need to work with Word documents, and don’t have Microsoft Office (and don’t want to download and install Open Office), but beyond that it’s not clear if there’s a real market for this offering. The thing is, Robertson may not care that much. Lately, he seems to be starting new businesses at an increasingly rapid pace — and it’s not clear if he cares how strong any of them are as a business. He seems to just enjoy causing trouble. Amusingly, though, AjaxWrite could be disruptive to another of his own projects that he launched just a few months ago — trying to sell boxed versions of open source applications, like OpenOffice. It’s nice to see Robertson having fun, but it seems like an online word processing clone these days needs to do more than just mimic an old version of Word.


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Comments on “The Mad Dash For Online Word Processors”

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26 Comments
Josh Erickson (user link) says:

Re: Re: Mad dash to be first to post

“Came “free” with the overpriced and bloated operating system you paid a ton of money for (whether pre-installed for you or not)? Wow! Where can we all sign up?”

Then I wonder why on many Linux distro’s I need more then one disk to hold the installation. Granted it comes with a lot of extra’s that aren’t installed automatically.

But never the less, I once decided to test that argument and installed XP on a clean machine, straight though the install (that is no changing of the options), and found it took up about 1.5 GB of harddrive space. Mac OS 10.3 takes roughly 3 GB.

PageMaker says:

Re: Re: Re: Mad dash to be first to post

Well, let’s see. In order to be the equivalent of the average Linux distro, you’d have to get M$’s home edition, Enterprise server edition, a suite of software development tools, Office…oh yeah, and you’d have to write off to Mr. Gates and ask him to send you the source code for Windows as well. You’d have a stack of disks at that point as well.

That there’s some bloatware in Linux distros is indisputable, but it actually asks you to pick what you want to install during the install process. Microsoft could take a page from that book and actually *ask* the user if he/she wants to install that silly pinball game that nobody ever spends more than 15 minutes playing…

Jeff Nolan (user link) says:

Most Analysts Are Overestimating the Size of Googl

Mr Wave Theory thinks that there is a Web 2.0 bubble and Most Analysts Are Overestimating the Size of Google’s Total Addressable Market for Internet Advertising

I am sick and tired of hearing analysts make wild projections about Google’s growth prospects based on wild projections about the size of Google’s total addressable market.

Continued …

Jeff Nolan (user link) says:

Bubble for Web 2.0

Mr Wave Theory thinks that there is a Bubble 2.0 for Web 2.0 and Most Analysts Are Overestimating the Size of Google’s Total Addressable Market for Internet Advertising

I am sick and tired of hearing analysts make wild projections about Google’s growth prospects based on wild projections about the size of Google’s total addressable market.

Continued …

Anonymous Coward says:

on wordpad and OOo

first all this bs about wordPAD (emphasis on pad there) is something people steal – no it aint, its the free super shitty uber downsized version of M$ office’s word that comes with windows whether you bought or pirated the os all the way back to windows 95

second, there are only 3 reasons to not use open office when you cant get a hold of M$ office –

1) you are on a corporate network that is locked down, but then chances are you have access to M$ office anyway

2) you are stuck on a dial up connection and you only need a half hour to type whatever

3) you are just downright fucking lazy

jim says:

An interesting novelty, but it's clunky as hell

AjaxWrite is an interesting effort, but it’s very slow and clunky as hell. It locked up Firefox the first time I tried to open something, too.

What’s the benefit of a network-delivered word processor anyway?

That it’s free? There are plenty of good free word processors.

That it’s AJAX? That just makes it slow and buggy compared to a compiled app.

That it’s delivered dynamically? That makes it load really slowly.

That in the future, all our stuff will live in “the cloud”? Do people really want the stuff that they word process to be out on the Internet somewhere?

Anonymous Coward says:

I shudder to think how desperate and/or stupid one would have to be in order to use an online word processor. If something is important enough for me to write, it’s important enough for me to know and control the location of the medium that stores it.

And that’s just a matter of not losing the document — you’d have to be worse than an idiot to trust an online company to keep the contents of your documents secret. Google (for one) publicly stated that it would datamine its Gmail accounts for ad direction (and perhaps for juicy extortion material as well, for all I know). Further, Google has recently been approached by the government to turn over email (deleted and otherwise). Online document security is a joke, and if you use an online word processor, the joke is on you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: vi

you mean to say VIM. and your right about personal preference. (though i almost killed my co-workers when they took gnu emacs off my linux box at work!) it kill me to see nerds fighting each other over something so meaningless. the txt format carrys over all platforms and all editors, so what does it matter what you used to write the file?

still, with a gui program, id like it to not suck, so ill stick with ooffice.org

Terminator1138 (user link) says:

another clone indeed

For one, its so basic of a clone that for usability its poor. Good for google for doing what they obviously wanted to do, buy a company that did some innovative work. Nothing wrong with that. Everyone should be so lucky to so something similar. IMO, Robertson is just trying to get some play for something that is being talked about.

Now for a rant. I just love it when everyone talks Web 2.0. come on, its just a word to describe possibly next generation development. My guess, ppl will lose interest until the next big thing and there are tons of clones out there. No one will feel special in about 2 years.

Also tired of ppl complaining about MS vs Linux and IE vs FF. Use what you want is what I always say. Find what suits you and get over it.

Just my two pennies worth…

Gabriel Sancjez says:

2 Compalints

1. For the first part i could say that the guy of ghost notebook just uses a clone copy a dhtml editor found in the market 3 years ago nothing new. If you want to say something to him this is his mail. detour@ghostnotebook.com

2. For ajaxwrite i found that it uses XUL for user interface, XUL is not avaliable for Internet Explorer, Opera, etc. so the big problem is how will the programmer of ajaxwrite will port a technology that was made for Linux?

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