Suddenly Everyone Wants An Online Office Suite

from the how-to-compete? dept

Just a couple weeks ago, we noted that both Google and IBM were coming out with free products that competed with Microsoft's dominant office suite offering, noting that it was looking increasingly like Microsoft supposed monopolistic domination of the space might not be as strong as some (i.e., European regulators) believed. It certainly looks like more companies smell blood in the water. Adobe has now announced that it has purchased Virtual Ubiquity, makers of an online word processor called Buzzword, just to throw some more well-backed competition into the space. Of course, at some point, you have to wonder how this market shakes out. Obviously, Microsoft is still dominant, but can that continue when it charges so much against free products? The real question, though, may be what everyone else in the market can do to compete. We recently had the Techdirt Insight Community tackle exactly that issue for a client, and the experts there came up with a few key areas that online office suite providers should specialize in to differentiate themselves from both Microsoft and Google in the space. We can't share that specific analysis, but if you're in that space and want the Community to help you craft a strategy to stand out and succeed, contact us.

In the meantime, while I can't reveal what they said, I can give you my own quick analysis for free. It's going to be very difficult for most of these online office suites to get much traction if they don't have a larger platform to plug into. Players like Zoho and Thinkfree are basically trying to build that platform from scratch, but they'll probably need to open up more to third party developers if they want to really gain traction. Google can succeed in the space, in part just by being Google -- but also as it continues to integrate its office suite offerings into other parts of Google. If and when Google finally does realize that it's become a platform play, then perhaps they'll open up the ability to develop apps on top of Google's office apps as well. On Adobe's side, they're trying to build this platform, but it's unclear how much adoption it's really getting or how well they'll be able to integrate this new purchase into the platform play.
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Filed Under: office suites, online
Companies: adobe, google, microsoft


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  1. identicon
    sam, 1 Oct 2007 @ 9:15am

    hi mike....

    it is with a great deal of laughter that i read what you write regarding the issue of online office apps. not because of the topic, but because of your statement about not being able to "release" your results!!

    what i'm about to say will probably cause your legions of fans to scream and howl. so be it.

    you're a hypocrite.

    you have pounded the table for quite sometime, that the music industry (ie musicians) should essentially give their music/bits away, and use them as a means of driving other revenue sources. why can't you in this case do the same thing. why can't you release your results and in effect use the results to somehow drive other revenue sources??

    are you going to say, it's because the results that you create are in fact the primary way you drive revenue? Hopefully you won't use this argument, as i've stated on numerous times that the artist uses the music/bits as a way to drive their revenue, and you've pretty much said they need to adapt!

    are you going to say you'd have no issue releasing the results, but the client paid for them, and the results are the client's property? give the client back their money, and release the results. the client wouldn't care, they'd get your work product for free!

    would you mind if i somehow got the bits, and placed them on the net, for any/all to copy? hopefully you wouldn't, as you've long said that musicians/artists should look at that kind of action as a way to promote the other revenue generating functions the artist should be engaged in.

    you see mike, bits are bits. and you the owner, have the right to pretty much do what you want to do with them, and i as a person who might want your bits should abide by your rules.

    so, i ask you mike, what reason can you give for not "releasing" the results, that wouldn't be able to be said from the artist's point of view?

    peace...

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