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5 Reasons to wait-n-see if Microsoft’s Office Live survives

Working for a company whose CEO once described it as ‘the poster child for Software as a Service,’ it should be no surprise that I’m taking a ‘can’t wait to see‘ approach to Microsoft’s entry into their ‘Software Plus Service‘ space.

Image Link to Office 'Almost' Live

A software delivery model recently re-asserted with the announced Office Live Workspace and a re-brand of Office Live, now Office Live Small Business. Yes, I know, it’s confusing – and one of my five reasons for pretending holding my breath while all the while inhaling through my nose.

  1. Brand Confusion?

    I know all big competitors play the fear, uncertainty and doubt – but I’m not so sure having people try to remember the difference between Office Live Workspace and Office Live Small Business is the best way asserts one “Software Plus Service” model to divide and conquer “Software as a Service” products that provide both an Internet Web Presence and a back-end intranet office – like Google Aps or Zoho.

    Me? If I’m running a small church or charity, I want it – in fact I need it – all under one roof; even at the cost of some functionality. Simplicity and directness is worth that much to my operations.Meaning, I think I’ll wait until Microsoft gets over their ‘Live’ brand identity crisis.

  2. 250 Mbyte 1,000 plus document limit

    I can understand from a business perspective why any Internet service company would want to limit the cost of storing files, and I don’t know of too many church and/or charities who are going to hit

    this limit with new content off-the-bat.But what about all those sermons and Bible studies one’s organization has generated and stowed on a Novell network somewhere? And what happens 2 or 3 years down-the-road when said limit is an issue?

    I think I’m going to wait-n-see how this plays out for others before I hand over the management of my compelling content to this new twist on the SaaS model.

  3. Security & Maturity

    Please don’t mistake me for an anti-Micro soft zealot. I’m not. In fact I find the obligatory, smarmy disdain held by the SlashdDot and digg clique tedious.

    That said, until Microsoft can get that big red bulls-eye off its back – and until they fully answer my concerns over backup, restoration, privacy and other security issues – I think I’ll wait.

  4. Software plus Service

    Perhaps it is my involvement with a successful SaaS company that has me scratching my head over a business model that asserts: “so long as MS Office is installed wherever you work, you can get to your documents wherever you are.”

    I mean, why create a boundary that basically locks you into a not-so-cheap thick client application that only really works on one of the three popular operating systems when I can collaborate on the same document from any computer on any operating system that runs a standard browser?

    I think I’ll wait until Microsoft can provide me a better reason for enduring such barriers.

  5. Nadaware

    Currently Office Live has no bugs, because it has no features. At the time of this writing, it’s still a month (or so) away.

    Meaning, even if I was satisfied with my other four concerns, I still have to wait because it’s still all vaporware.

For those who were expecting an online version of Microsoft Works – sorry. Still, for the few and the brave interested in running their church and/or charity computer operations under the “Software Plus Service” model, Microsoft is offering sign-ups for beta testing.

Let me know how that goes – as I continue to have a raging debate with myself over Google Aps versus Zoho Office versus Office Live (I’m so conflicted).

Finally, in no particular order, some additional ‘reading-room‘ materials on this topic:

  • Pocket-Link: Microsoft finally goes online with Office Live Workspace
  • Microsoft finally unveils its answer to Google Docs – ZD Net blog
  • ZDNet.UK: Microsoft prepares to take Office online
  • Microsoft shares Office Live Workspace (and Prawn2Bwild) – ComputerWorld
  • Microsoft Office heads to the Web – ZDNet News
  • Small Business Trends: Microsoft Re-Brands Office Live, But Little Changes
  • Microsoft Office Goes Kinda-Sorta Online – PCWorld
  • C|Net News: Microsoft Office heads to the Web
  • A comparative cornucopia of online office ’sweets’ – HealYourChurchWebSite.com