Is Microsoft Office Bleeding?
At some point back in the late '90s -- we're thinking 1998 or so -- Quark put
out an acquisition bid for competitor Adobe. Adobe was struggling a bit at the
time, and although Quark's bid ultimately (and obviously) failed, there were
rumors that Adobe might be ripe for the picking.
Your editor covered the story for a different publication (again, obviously,
as RCP didn't exist back then) and wrote some snappy prose, we'd like
to say. But one competitor -- we honestly don't remember who, but please step
forward if you're out there -- won the battle for best lede (first sentence)
in an online story about the whole Quark-Adobe matter. He wrote: "When
blood is in the water, sharks will gather."
Adobe avoided the Quark shark and went on to (more) great things. But the shark
metaphor struck us today when we read about new
competition for Microsoft Office from IBM and...well, Adobe, actually.
Supposedly, Office is bleeding a bit. We keep reading suggestions around the
Web that Office's money-making parade is about
to get rained on by the cloud-based applications coming out of Google and
now IBM and Adobe. Microsoft, meanwhile, still doesn't have a true hosted version
of Office on offer, although Redmond seems to be working on something
kind of, sort of similar-ish.
As we've said here before, we're not so convinced that Office is bleeding or
that it'll be all that easy to give up, even if the competition offers applications
for free. A lot of companies have a lot of investment in Office both in terms
of development and basic user familiarity, and anybody who thinks it's easy
to get users to change their everyday habits should hear some of the more harrowing
tales of enterprise resource planning implementations. People like what they
know. Plus, hosted anything is still a proposition rife with potential pitfalls
in the enterprise.
Still, we're always fans of lighter, cheaper software here, and if Google,
IBM and Adobe can push Microsoft to create a true hosted version of Office or
at least something a bit less expensive and not so cumbersome, great. We're
just not convinced that the would-be sharks are smelling any blood yet, much
less sinking their teeth into the Office franchise.
Is the future of Microsoft Office -- and all software -- something that's online
for free? Answer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Lee Pender on 06/04/2008 at 1:22 PM