I’m fairly sure that Microsoft missed the ‘software as a service’ boat not for any reason other than, as stated in this Fortune article, the fact that it was afraid that pursuing it back in 2001/2002 meant it had to go up against its centralized ‘software for desktop’ approach, where it is no doubt king.
It just makes sense. See, MS Office has been Microsoft’s big money making monster for years, a collection of bloated elephantine over-featured over-done software which everybody used or had to use. Microsoft therefore has to support the concept of individual installations (and licenses) of software on individual machines – the foundation of their business.
But here came the concept of ‘software as a service’, delivering software on the web, and Microsoft had a choice, either go with that, or defend it’s chosen foundation to the hilt, and now we know it did that – to it’s detriment.
But even if MS missed that particular boat, software on the web per se isn’t that a big deal I think. In fact it’s sorta old, and if not done properly can be a bust. I mean, how exactly will, say, Excel, be better for the customer if done via web? They can always do other stuff right? Unfortunately, MS is pressed for time – hell, right now they’re just pressed, period. They have to do something right now to maintain investor confidence and keep good people from leaving, among other things.
Even Bill Gates is making the rounds, he’s in the news almost every week. I thought that guy was supposed to be retired, or in one of MS’ labs dreaming up stuff as a software architect like he said he would.
Really, MS missing the boat seems to be de rigeur nowadays. There is hardly any area I can think of anymore where MS is the undisputable leader. Migs said .Net, and that’s true compared to Java, but I’m not even sure that made serious inroads as MS hoped it would.
If you think about it, MS is actually in an easy position – if the media hype surrounding their Live.com announcements is any indication, they can still drum up attention without having to be number 1.
That’s actually easy to do. They just have to make big announcements of business plans on any number of technological advancements over the past three years they missed out on.
oh btw, I tried signing up at the currently beta live.com. Just wanted to see what domain name they’d be using for the free email part.