Google Steps into Microsoft’s Office

Software as a service phenomenon is here to stay. It will only gain momentum as time goes by. Established players like Microsoft know that and are taking evasive action.

On the one hand, they are changing their business model to provide some of their software as a service. On the other, they are going after upstarts, like Google, and their business models.

As Microsoft hit Google on the search front – and failed or is failing for the most part – Google is trying to hit them in their bread and butter business – office productivity software. Google’s offer is consistent with its strength – software as a service. Companies will sign up for the online, “pay per sip” model of business applications.

However, will this get serious enough to make the traditional model of software sales extinct? The answer might lie in looking at the application service provider (ASP) model for business applications – have they demolished the traditional model? Well, here is a rhetorical question for you: Have open source applications like Linux replaced MS Windows?

The fight between Google – the upstart – and Microsoft will hog headlines for years to come. A decade ago, Microsoft versus IBM was billed similarly. Microsoft is a behemoth but IBM is still standing tall! I believe this fight between Google and Microsoft will also result in something similar.

For the moment through there is excitement and people are taking sides. For all the Microsoft bashing, there is something to be said about their contribution to business productivity. Getting them to play fair is a worthy goal but wishing for their extinction makes us the customers more not less vulnerable. So take sides carefully because if Microsoft falls, whoever replaces them will also undertake their tactics after winning.

From a customer perspective, it is not important who wins or loses. What is important is that there are many contestants at a given time, each with a fair chance to compete and while this competition goes on, we the customers are the winners!

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Google Steps into Microsoft’s Office author sourabhhajela



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