Recent announcements such as Microsoft embracing the software-as-a-service model with its Office Live Workspace and the entry of Adobe into the online apps field with its acquisition of Virtual Ubiquity, indicate a clear signal for Google that the battle for domination on "Webtops" is heating up.
Microsoft's Office Live Workspace allows users to share and access their documents online. The article at PC World also discusses IBM's and Adobe's entry into the online productivity applications space.
Adobe acquired the online word processor Buzzword by purchasing its developer Virtual Ubiquity (BBC World). Microsoft is playing a balancing act in embracing the online applications trend by hinging its online productivity applications on desktop versions.
A quote from the article at NY Times:
Microsoft is making announcements today that it plans to offer a free service, called Office Live Workspace, that will allow people to store, access and share documents online. A user will be able store up to 1,000 documents on a workspace on the Web.
But a Word or Excel document in the online workspace can be edited only if the user has bought Microsoft's Word or Excel software. "The ideal case is where a person has Office," said Rajesh Jha, a vice president for Microsoft Office Live products.
Microsoft's lethargy in grabbing the online productivity apps space has allowed several new entrants to offer their solutions, including Google Apps, Zoho, and many more.
More severe competition in the online productivity apps space signals good news, since more competition means more compelling features. And coupled with this is the integration of the offline with the online, implying the development of technology that allows users to seamlessly sync offline documents with online content. Google Gears demonstrates a step in that direction.