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Oh Yeah? YAWBOC yourself!

a picture called livedocuments_logo.jpg (click to enlarge) The concept of an online operating system, or a webbased office system, is almost a decade old.
The first half of that decade, I was convinced that it was inevitable - and that it would happen fast. Those where the years that I wrote my own online word-processors and my first CMS systems.
The last years however, after I got to know the drawbacks of that approach, I changed my opinion: maybe an online office is inevitably, but if it is, it will take many many years to get there.

Once in a while - a new incarnation of an online office application turns up - and the media starts shouting that this will soon be the end of the Microsoft Office suite.

This week - it was Live documents - shout - shout - shout.

(a little late though .. this thing is over a year old ...)

I don't get it: correct me if I'm wrong, but Live documents is an ADDON to MS office, right?
How can a service that builds an top of another service can ever compete with it?
Heck, it's in their own press release: -that embraces and extends Microsoft Office to the browser -
If this Live Document thing will catch on, undoubtly Microsoft will just copy it and integrate it into its own office suite - Just like it has been doing for its entire existence.

Be honest for a moment? Is there any real competition for MS Office?
And why?
Because MS Office is a really good product!

The past years I have found my perfect online workspace - it has been around for years, its free, it's from Microsoft and it's installed on any windows machine.
It's called "Remote Desktop"

Simple as that: my main workstation is a computer that I'v never even seen physically.
I always carry around a mini-PC , and a windows mobile phone, and all the applications I ever need are installed on my remote desktop.

If I'm at a client and I need Flash, or Dreamweaver, or I have to edit a video?
No problem - connect to my remote desktop and start working.
The next day at home - just relog and all your documents are there, waiting for you - just as you left them.

As a developer - Online office application still carry away my interest - and maybe I'll even start using them ... but at this moment - I have absolutely no need for them - and I do have switched to an completely online way of working. The big caveat of all those platforms: user lockdown !

surprisingly enough - CNET has an insightfull article on the online office application concept: YAWBOC (Yet Another Web-based Office Competitor) with some decent comments of the live-document creators themselves.
Their bottomline?
The future isn't web-based document creation. If anything, it's an email client (like Zimbra) that does away with the need for "documents" at all and makes the focus on collaboration and distribution, not creation.
The future of the desktop is not an online desktop. It's getting rid of the desktop metaphor altogether. The future of an office suite is to dump the office and focus where people spend their time: email, IM, SMS, blogs, etc. We increasingly collaborate as we create rather than create so that we can then collaborate on what we've already done.

This is a vision of the future - but today - most office users I come across aren't looking for collaboration: They just want to edit and layout their documents in a simple way.
If real time collaboration is your thing: do try out the online office suites, but don't expect to be able to quickly edit a 50 page document with pictures, graphs and visual styles ...
All the online office apps have 2 major issues: SPEED and USABILITY.
One example: Show me one (1!) online word-processor that doesn't use any browser-plugins like java that can scale a table cell of an arbitrary table like you would expect it to work: by simply dragging the cellborder ...
Sounds simple enough, no ? Forget it: it doesn't exist.
It's stuff like that that really matters if you expect non technical people to use it on a regular basis.
MS office will generate 20 billion dollar revenue this year, and trust me: the next 5 years, that won't change. Geef je reactie (4)