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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  1. identicon
    Mont, 23 Mar 2006 @ 4:11am

    Mad dash to be first to post

    I got notepad. Came free with windows.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Jeff Nolan, 23 Mar 2006 @ 4:12am

    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 ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Jeff Nolan, 23 Mar 2006 @ 4:21am

    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 ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    myyourstupid, 23 Mar 2006 @ 4:46am

    Re: Mad dash to be first to post

    Duh!

    Mine came with wordpad!

    ahhh hahahahahahahahahahahaha

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Biography Boy, 23 Mar 2006 @ 5:40am

    More Info

    Obligatory wiki bio on Michael Robertson[wikipedia.org].

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    drew, 23 Mar 2006 @ 5:47am

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    discojohnson, 23 Mar 2006 @ 6:03am

    Another thing...

    anothing thing to bear in mind is how cheaply this could be thrown together. so what if it isn't huge? as long as it makes back the initial investment (which i'm sure it will) and then some, it pays the bills.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Nadia, 23 Mar 2006 @ 6:30am

    hmm, i didn't get notepad? the only thing i found here is textedit :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2006 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re: Mad dash to be first to post

    No it came free with the free OS system that many people own freely because they like to steal things...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Josh Erickson, 23 Mar 2006 @ 7:02am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    PageMaker, 23 Mar 2006 @ 8:27am

    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...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    detour, 23 Mar 2006 @ 8:39am

    I was working on one just for fun

    I was developing a web-based word processor just for kicks. Check it out: Ghost Notebook

    Kinda stopped working on it because of a lack of feedback. Criticism constructive or otherwise is appreciated.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2006 @ 8:51am

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    jim, 23 Mar 2006 @ 9:22am

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2006 @ 9:23am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Tin Ear, 23 Mar 2006 @ 9:35am

    Say what?

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

    I'm not familiar with OpenOffice, but maybe you can suggest which one has superior grammar and phrase checking?? I get the impression that you use neither of them...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    10pound, 23 Mar 2006 @ 10:36am

    editors

    Notepad? Wordpad? Came free?

    Yes is did. With my bloated expensive proprietary OS which I, as a matter of fact, PIRATED!! Hells yeah!! Free software ftw!! I also bootlegged a copy of office!! Kick ass!!

    Ultra edit is the best and I didnt pay for that either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    anonymous, 23 Mar 2006 @ 10:56am

    Re: Re: Mad dash to be first to post

    clearly, linux running xemacs is the best!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    txjump, 23 Mar 2006 @ 11:21am

    vi

    everyone should use vi!

    ;)

    just kidding. ive used word, notepad, wordpad, vi, xemacs, pico, etc ... it's a matter of what you get used to and what you need it for.

    but the idea of an online is not appealing to me either. security and reliablity would be my concerns also.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Brian, 23 Mar 2006 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Mad dash to be first to post

    But alot cheaper than the crappy, can't get support for it OSX that apple makes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Terminator1138, 23 Mar 2006 @ 12:44pm

    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...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Cione, 23 Mar 2006 @ 12:54pm

    Web version with limitations

    Jump on over and try to use the Web version with IE. Oh no it wont work unless you have Firefox. If someone did the same with IE then all would be screaming "Fair Use"

    Another good idea that will be wiped out by a view that only one web browser should be used.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2006 @ 2:18pm

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Sir-Bertus, 24 Mar 2006 @ 3:20pm

    Since when is an RTE an innovation?

    You can find 1000 examples of simplistic, basic rich text editors on the web. Why should this get any press?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Gabriel Sancjez, 3 Apr 2006 @ 7:53pm

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Denise Babbit, 4 Apr 2006 @ 10:35pm

    Word Processors

    Just curious -- Has anyone ever tried using WordPerfect? BTW, it came free w/ MY bloated, expensive OS. Comes complete with being able to create .html, .xml, .pdf.

    I don't like MS prices either, but I've never liked MAC and I'm not tech savvy enough to understand how to switch over to Linux.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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