“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.
I just couldn’t help but coming back on Google (GOOG) latest news, accelerating innovation and dominance — read Google expands office software for more on businessweek.com — attacking both Yahoo and Microsoft at the same time :
“Google announced Friday it would pay $3.1 billion to acquire ad-management technology company DoubleClick Inc….Google announced the acquisition Tuesday of Tonic Systems Inc., a startup based in San Francisco and Melbourne, Australia. The company specializes in collaborative presentation software and is expected to contribute to future versions to Google’s productivity suite.” — businessweek.com
This InformationWeek Google’s Deal For DoubleClick Could Be The End Of Yahoo article emphasizes the advertising acquisition even more, and finally here is what reported on earthtimes.org about the Google Clear Channel deal:
“Google Inc. and broadcaster Clear Channel Communications Inc. have signed a multi-year advertising sales agreement under which Google will start selling its advertising on radio stations, thereby making its entry into what is described as offline media — radio, TV and even print publications.”
If you didn’t realize that Google is clearly moving on two fronts at the same time, SaaS dominance together with entering end-to-end advertising via the on-line door, you’ve just been living on an island without any kind of media access since January! No later than today, MediaDailyNews reports about how the ad industry major players are reacting about it: Google Looms Over Ad Research Summit, Seen More As Friend Than Enemy.
What business are we in folks? Software or advertising … it may be both.
It’s been around for quite a while, the late 90’s. But as privacy and technical issues are going away, marketers should consider behavioral targeting in their on-line advertising campaigns.
For those who just missed it, behavioral targeting is the ability to deliver ads to consumers based upon their recent behavior viewing web pages, shopping online for products and services, typing keywords into a search engine or a combination of all three. You can have some more details on behavioraltargeting.com and behavioral targeting 101 on iMedia Connection.
Microsoft recently added it to its offering — read Microsoft adds behavioral targeting – Tech News & Reviews – MSNBC.com — as Yahoo did before as well — read Yahoo! behavioral targeting.
Interestingly enough, AdAge Digital highlights that Behavioral Targeting becomes The New Killer App for Research. Some even put forward some effectiveness performance:
“The behavioral targeting ads increased ad awareness by 51%, while content targeting resulted in only a 33% boost.” — Snapple
As Marketing 2.0 is all about considering your customers and prospects literally as Stars, this should be no surprise to you that I wanted to stress the use of it as a “must have” advertising tactic. Relevant context is king.
The open source world is about to welcome a competitor to SharePoint from Microsoft. In 2007, O3Spaces from the Netherlands will release its open source version of its integrated collaboration and document management application for workgroups and small businesses that use OpenOffice.org or its commercial sibling StarOffice. It is already available in its professional version, you can take a look at this quick tour to figure it out, and read a Sharepoint feature comparison here.
It is important as SharePoint is central to Microsoft Office 2007 launch. People Ready is all about collaboration and probably the most compelling reason to upgrade your office suite software. Web 2.0 drives this collaboration attitude, motivating all individuals to do it easily over the network and from very different devices, including our cell phones.
Let’s not forget that desktop productivity software is also making its early steps in the Software as a Service (Saas) world. Just keep in mind what Google is doing with Writely and its online spreadsheet service, offering native web collaboration, all for free!
2007 will definitely be a very interesting time for the office suite market and probably give us some indications on whether customers are keen to stay only with the old licensing model or move partly to the open source model or the Saas one.
Most of us do remember the last major Microsoft transformation around the Internet in 1996, don’t you? At the announcement for its new BBS, Microsoft Network (MSN) Bill Gates declared about the Internet something as “it’s just a fad”. After Windows 95 launch, Microsoft was quickly reorganized in 1996 and did let appear an Internet division — read the detailed story here. The rest is history: Netscape became an industry icon for museums despite being once the web browser gorilla.
As challenging times are back again with the rise of Web 2.0, especially around:
- rich on-line user interfaces
- applications directly cooperating via the network (i.e. SOA and mashups)
- the Internet becoming a platform rather than just a media
Microsoft once again needs to reinvent itself. And this time, it seems to include a new Microsoft leaders generation, check out this business week slide show. Business Week reports this week on The soul of a new Microsoft.
Zune, Vista, Live and MDAS are some of the new ingredients of Microsoft 2.0 as I see it. The People Ready campaign will need to provide an umbrella for this, which is a challenge as the range of Microsoft marketable offers is stretching like crazy. Similarly to the last major transformation I was refering to, Web 2.0 seemed to be lagging in Microsoft communication. Not anymore, watch this Businessweek Video where “Kevin Johnson and Jeff Raikes talk about how new versions of Windows and Office represent a leap into the Web 2.0 world“. I’ll give you a hint, it’s all about web services. Surprised?
I trust the new Microsoft leaders, especially Ray Ozzie, will probably take it to the next level. I wouldn’t be surprised if a major reorg was to take place after Vista launch that we could finally call: Microsoft 2.0.
Following our question about where Microsoft business model was going – read Hey Microsoft, are you becoming Googled? – and now that all 3 Internet titans have published their quarterly results, let’s stop for a while and understand who is ahead of the curve.
Assuming financial analysts and investors are doing their due diligence properly, we could rely first on their feel for it. So, looking at the comparison chart between all three stocks Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG), and Yahoo (YHOO) for the last 6 months, Google seems to ride the wave, Microsoft catching up and Yahoo heading south. Google even afforded to reach a new stock price all time high of $484.64 on 23 October, briefly surpassing $150 Billions for the first time! Remember, they acquired YouTube for $1.6B in stock… that’s a dime.
I’m pretty in line with this view of the world as it reflects today’s perception of who are the leaders in the on-line business. Here is a quote from AP on Monday supporting it:
“The third-quarter performance underscored the substantial advantage that Google has built over chief Internet rivals Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp., leading most analysts to conclude that the company will continue to dominate the online advertising market while it explores other potentially lucrative opportunities.” — Michael Liedtke, AP Business Writer
But one should also keep in mind that very few players in this industry have the financial muscle to create and maintain huge architectures supporting Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery to the masses. We’re talking $Billions fellow marketers, not VC money (sorry Netvibes fellows 😉 ).
Why should WE care? Well, if you only rely on search engine market shares to place your search marketing bets, the game is pretty simple: Google 49.2%, Yahoo 23.8%, MSN 9.6% according to Nielsen Netratings. Google market share surges even to more than 80% in some countries like France. The reason why we should care is Marketing 2.0 again. Search Advertising is powerful but not enough. Why would all these major players invest in Web 2.0 emerging companies otherwise? The question is for us to understand what are tomorrow’s business models in a variety of industries like software, music, videos and what have you. If revenue is bound to come from on-line advertising in the future, it clearly means all other advertising form factors will decrease. Our marketing-mix, in a Marketing 2.0 era, will then significantly change and above all, marketing performance will be heavily impacted. To be digged.