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June 9, 2006

No worries about Office Live cutting into the Office cash flow

Posted by David Hunter at 1:06 PM ET.

At ZDNet, Dan Farber interviews Antoine LeBlond, Microsoft’s “corporate vice president of Office Productivity Applications, who oversees the design, development and testing of Microsoft Office” and reports Microsoft’s LeBlond: No need for an MS Web Office:

On the subject of developing a suite of Web productivity apps, LeBlond doesn’t see any demand coming from customers. He described Web apps as reduced functionality versions of the Microsoft productivity applications they have been using for years, and said that customers are not actively asking for them. He noted that Web-based productivity apps and competitors to Microsoft Office, such as, have been around for a while as well as AJAX-related technologies.

“No one ever self identifies as the person who only needs the reduced functionality….The truth is that there have been low or reduced functionality versions of all of our products for years and years, and they really don’t get very much traction,” LeBlond said. “That clearly points to the fact there really isn’t much demand.”

I asked LeBlond if he thought an inflection point had been reached, with more sophisticated use of AJAX and other technologies to more closely replicate the rich client experience, and if Microsoft would build lightweight Office applications (what LeBlond calls “reduction functionality” apps, which says a lot about Microsoft’s perspective on the subject) for users who don’t need the full richness of Microsoft Office.

His answer was no. “The need for functionality and what we are trying to do with the software doesn’t change because of new technologies that are available,” LeBlond said. He pointed to the spreadsheet size limits as an example of the kind problem users will run into with Web-based apps.

I also asked LeBlond if Google’s foray into productivity applications is of any concern to Microsoft. His response: “That’s not what keeps me up at night,” he said.

As I mentioned the other day, I’d given up on seeing any Web-based version of Office and taking LeBlond’s comments at face value, Office Live seems destined to remain a warmed over bCentral.

Filed under Coopetition, Google, Microsoft, Office, Office Live

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4 Responses to “No worries about Office Live cutting into the Office cash flow”

  1. Google releases Web office package -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Interestingly, Girouard is “general manager of Google’s enterprise division, which sells search software to companies.” This is just a bundle of existing offerings, but it sounds like the Office Live that everyone talked about, but Microsoft didn’t deliver, perhaps because they have the Microsoft Office cash cow to protect. Filed under Office, Coopetition, Google, Office Live, Microsoft   [Permalink] [TrackBack] [...]

  2. Adobe alphas Apollo - Web apps on the desktop -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] So how does Microsoft play? Good question since while Microsoft is willing to support spiffier Web apps with AJAX and the WPF/E “Flash killer,” they love the mantra that Web apps can’t really compare to desktop applications like Office where they make lots of money. Filed under Coopetition, Technologies, AJAX, Adobe, Microsoft, WPF/E [...]

  3. Microsoft’s Office Live Workspace enters public beta | Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] That certainly provides the sharing function, but the early press reviews are generally less than ecstatic because Office Live Workspace doesn’t provide any of Web editing features of the Web-based competition. Past indications were that it would be a cold day in Hell when that happened, but Microsoft seems to be changing its tune as Erick Schonfeld reports: Granted, this is version 1.0 of a beta. It will get better. One of the Microsoft execs who visited made it clear to me that the company’s goal is “bridge the gap between the online and offline world so that people don’t have to care where a document lives.” He also suggested online editing capabilities would be coming “maybe next year.” [...]

  4. Microsoft to place big bet on Web apps? | Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Less snarkily, if these rumors pan out, it will be interesting indeed to see how Microsoft manages to finesse “software plus services” to avoid killing the cash cows while simultaneously avoiding owning some large buildings stuffed with unused computers. And no, I won’t complain about all the times Microsoft disparaged Web apps. [...]

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