“Microsoft and IBM executives Wednesday admitted feeling heat from Google now that the Web search giant is trying to make inroads into the enterprise market with its hosted suite of communication and collaboration tools.” says NetworkWorld.
Desktop productivity suites — i.e. Microsoft and Open Office — are beginning to appear as legacy apps for younger internet user generation. If you think about it, up to a few years ago, our desktop was application centric. You’d have to think about what application to use to either create, edit or read information. In this antic time, still valid for conservative users, Office was the place where we’d live on our desktop. Not anymore for Internet centric users, especially 15-24 years old.
Multimedia content, supported with the advent and success of Youtube, flickr, slide.com, and others not to forget podcasts, is paving the way to another information form factor. As a matter of fact, information streams to you via RSS feeds sitting on your desktop via Netvibes personal portal on the web and various widgets. Google apps are starting to give a clear headway towards SaaS collaborative “desktop” productivity applications, not to mention they’ve just completed another step in completeness with Tonic acquisition — a presentation sharing and collaboration solution for Powerpoint slides.
To sum it up, I believe we’ve moved from Desktop to Webtop with several key implication:
- Our digital environment is no more sitting on our PC but on the network,
- Our environment is no longer application centric but user centric i.e. information is flowing your way whatever the application required to exploit it should be. Various alerts are pacing your information day from blogs, information sites, our mailbox and calendar,
- Users are empowered to design their environment, not software vendors!
Webtop is a personalized web hosted desktop that you can use everywhere, from any device, that no software vendor would design for you. This is pure Web 2.0 attitude: users are designing their webtop “app” aggregating various components in an iterative and collaborative way — users recommend widgets and apps to others. Gone the day when software vendors were dictating their view of the world. Folks, we’re in charge again. And webtop already have vendors, check out Goowy.
Microsoft colleagues, can you feel the heat?
In a meeting recently, in my new job at Sage, we were discussing with R&D about the client model in our new world. Interesting debate among specialists that are seeing the world through RIA (Rich Internet Application), RDA (Rich Desktop Application) and the fading 100% HTML or client/server models. It clearly shows we’ve been moving fast in a connected world were web based applications are weaving into desktop based applications.
But now the non connected world enters web based applications and the very last argument pleading for desktop based applications is just going away, even before being connected to the Internet will be as natural as receiving daylight (a bit futuristic I must admit, but you know me by now I like to provoke). Give it a try and install it. Are you as curious as I am to see what the next Google/Microsoft battle is going to be?
One thing for sure: user’s information environment is already partly on the web and on his desktop. I’m not a big fan of this as users need to decide before searching or operating where the information might be or be sure they carry a laptop with them at all times. My bet is user’s information are going to move 100% on the web with a solid secure access and backup. The device we will be using to access and manipulate this data is secondary and might just be borrowed when we need it.
Interestingly enough, not only do they acquire one of the most powerful web media buyer but they also acquire web design services through its Avenue A/Razorfish division.
One thing is sure, as I was wondering after Google’s DoubleClick acquisition in “Would you have Google as your middleman”
, Microsoft had an answer to the Internet titan move. Sad news for web ad agencies, competition and battleground have changed in your world within a few weeks (see chart). Read this Microsoft Storms Madison Avenue
article in AdvertisingAge for more on the earthquake.
But folks, let me enjoy my vacation fully, I’ll be back in June.