This morning at the Office 2.0 Conference, I think I saw demos of at least four or five online web-based word processors and spreadsheets. Eek.
I don’t think Office 2.0 is about displacing Microsoft Office on the desktop. Let’s face it, folks – as much as we love to complain about it, Office is about to ship its 12.0 version – that’s a lot of evolution there. It’s a very mature product, it works, and even a guy from Google this morning said if you want to build a financial model, you ought to be using Excel.
I just don’t see the incentive to have an online word processor or spreadsheet. I mean, sure – the technology is cool. Who doesn’t love seeing super ajaxy applications? But at the end of the day, these standard office applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc) work great on my desktop. Even when google.com is down (amusing anecdote – gmail was down for a minute this morning during a demo, much to the chuckle of the audience). Even when I’m on a plane. Even when I’m on an island with no cell service. They just work.
But that’s ok – because replacing desktop applications is NOT what Office 2.0 is about.
It’s about Collaboration. Community. Sharing. Give me better ways to work on something with a team. Give me ways to take my Word document and collaborate on it. Give me ways to distribute content widely within my organization. Give me ways to generate content myself within my company – and give us ways to have a conversation about it. Give me ways to tear down the walls between parts of my company, and get everyone working better together.
GIve me desktop applications that use the power of the network to deliver a better experience…but still work fine without the network.
Give me Web 2.0 – inside my firewall.
And don’t take away Excel. It works fine. Even on a plane.