It’s Full of AJAX Office!

Leapfrog’s Peter Rip has, like many of us, been running into AJAX (or Flash, or Flex) re-dos of Office software components lately. The trend toward desktop-software-less office tools continues apace.

AJAX Office is Everywhere!

Wow. In the past three days I have bumped into an alpha or beta Web-incarnation for every Microsoft desktop product – several have multiple startups attacking the $11B on the desktop. Just got off the phone with yet another one. Most are AJAX, some are Flash- or Flex-based.

…The real problem with desktop apps is no one works at their desktop anymore. I remember the Office of the Future initiative at XEROX PARC 25 years ago. (Almost took a summer research job there then. But went to Oroweat instead, to make money). PARC’s vision was the paperless office. But what really has happened is the Desktopless Office. I wish I could trademark the term Net Work because that’s what people do now — the Net is integral to nearly every dimension of individuals’ Work.

…Some things to watch:

and these are just the ones I can talk about….


  1. Michael Robinson says:

    From the unquoted part of the link:
    “There may be an upgrade cycle for Office which will boost short term earnings, but there is a much bigger migration cycle as people do Net Work instead of Desktop Work. And the smartest developers of the AJAX Office are capitalizing on this.”
    What the world really needs is some kind of short-selling mechanism for startups. Like, I borrow a bunch of shares from the founders, sell them to gullible VC’s, with the contractual obligation to buy the shares back from the VC’s and return them to the founders in two to three years.
    Anyway, back to the original point about the imminent multi-$billion migration cycle to Net Work: one must ask oneself why “AJAX Office” is hot right now, but not “XUL Office”, “WebDAV Office”, or even “Java Office”.
    One further ought to ask oneself why is it almost impossible to give away an office suite that isn’t Microsoft Office:
    And finally, in light of the answers to the above questions, one should ponder why the IFPI is trying to get people to download software to remove downloaded software used for downloading software:

  2. Umm, these companies really need to get some better names. Writely? Gliffy? Meembo!? They sound like ghosts from Ms. Pac-Man

  3. Friends used to work for a company called They shut down at the end of the bubble because of lack of a business model.
    What’s changed?
    Oh, and desktop’s IP is still sitting at an investor office somewhere.

  4. Funny, I sort of thought they sounded like minor characters from “Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles”.

  5. We have released Zoho Writer (in Alpha)at

  6. While I am firmly in the crowd that says AJAX and the Web 2.0 is hogwash. If it were to work it has to focus on how it adds additional capabilities to my Microsoft Office. It will never replace it. Look at (in my mind at least) the first and only useful AJAX app ever made – Outlook Web Access (OWA). It does one thing – allow you to sit at another terminal and view outlook as it appears on your desktop. That’s it. It does it very well (at least since the latest version. And there’s a lesson here. If there is a market for Excel online and Word online, MSFT will own it. I just don’t think there is a market beyond OWA.

  7. Although I can’t speculate when the next shift in computing happens, in america, i think it will have a lot to do with the cable industry’s selfish hold on the analog frequencies until 2009! their greed is only pushing the US farther and farther down on the list of tech-savy countries.
    remember microsoft will not creat the market, but they will release their version of it, a few weeks later.

  8. Whats the point of the web – to do a way with the office!!
    I used to work on mainframes 25 years ago that were more integrated that any windows system I’ve ever seen.
    If you just write documents MS office is fine.
    If you want to actually use a computer then making documents prettier gets you nowhere!