Only a few of these online office applications will survive the coming age of “moving the desktop to the web,” but no matter which ones make it I don’t see how we, the consumers, can lose.
80% of the people I know would be perfectly happy using Writely, iRows and Gmail and saving the $200-300 they normally spend on MS Office. Once someone implements a “disconnected mode” that allows users to edit files without internet access, and to download and backup our files, I’m going to start advocating pretty hard for this golden combination of simplicity and convenience.
People are fed up with Vista (Microsoft’s new Operating System). They’re fed up with missed delivery dates, high price tags, and seven versions of the same software. I’m a Microsoft developer, so I’m the last one to dig my canines into the hand that feeds me, but consumer desktop office applications are on their way out.
It will take two years before the technology is mature enough for consumers to take a risk, but once 95% of us have high speed internet and the cost of Microsoft Office becomes 3x the cost of the laptop, people are going to find alternatives. And they’re going to turn to the techies (that’s us) for guidance.
I’ve been holding off on recommending online office applications to my family and non-technical friends, but the clock is ticking.