Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Google CEO Schmidt Calls 2007 A Watershed for Office Apps

As if to celebrate the first time Google shares closed higher than $500, Techmeme features a set of predictions in the Economist from Google CEO, Dr. Eric Schmidt. No bubble here. In fact, Schmidt paints a very rosy 2007 Internet-based businesses.

That, in itself, is predictable. What's unexpected in Schmidt's piece is that he seems to take the gloves off in challenging Microsoft. Nick Carr notes the shift from Google's previously coy claims to offer only lite versions office apps to Schmidt's new emphatic stance that Internet apps, "will sweep aside the proprietary protocols promoted by individual companies striving for technical monopoly." (hmmm. Who might that be?) Schmidt claims: Today’s desktop software will be overtaken by internet-based services.

Schmidt's fig leaf here, is that he is not predicting that Google overtake Microsoft. He's just saying that inevitably Internet apps will overtake those from companies striving for technical monopoly (wink wink, nudge nudge).

(Reuters reports Microsoft's response to Schmidt)

The march of the Internet as a video carrier vs. cable was a huge story in 2006. In Schmidt's view IP (Internet protocol) has already "beaten ATM, CATV/Co-ax and the rest because it always means more choice." (Well, maybe, but most of us get our IP over cable in the first place. If Schmidt is correct, the dominance of cable as a programming brand is over. From here on, it's just a dumb pipe.)

Mickeleh's Take: In 2007 Microsoft may well accelerate the switch to Internet-based alternatives to Office. They'll be spending a lot of promotional and advertising dollars to sprinkle itching powder all over the installed base of Office. Microsoft, of course, imagines that the only way to scratch that itch is to fork over the cash to buy Office 2007. But once Microsoft's advertising gets a lot of us wondering whether the Office we have today is, maybe, not modern enough, not collaborative enough, not net-aware enough we may look to net-based providers for solutions that are totally modern, collaborative, and net aware.

(Tags: , , , , , )