Microsapp: How Web Apps Killed Microsoft

Om Malik writes in Business 2.0 that a new generation of browsers will soon make web applications better than downloadable desktop software.

“Amen”, I hear you collectively say.

From the back of the room, “Haven’t we seen this movie before?”

Indeed, as Om points out, Netscape prematurely bandied that message around over a decade ago.

Well finally it looks like desktop software’s time is all but up. Om posits the following scenario of Web as Workplace:

What’s making it possible is a new generation of browsers. Early next year Microsoft , Mozilla, and Apple  are expected to release enhanced versions of IE, Firefox, and Safari, the first ones specifically tuned for Web applications. (For those who haven’t been following along at home, these are programs that run on the Internet rather than your hard drive.)

What this means is that you’ll be able to write your documents in Writely (who needs Word?), e-mail them via Gmail (who needs Outlook?), and arrange appointments to jointly edit those documents via Google Calendar (again, who needs Outlook?). And while you’re at it, a Google Talk chat window running inside these applications could let you collaborate (who needs AIM?).

No software will be downloaded to your hard drive, and everything is free. You could be working on a document on an office computer, hit “Save,” go home, and resume work. You could be using Windows, Mac OS X, or Ubuntu Linux; the application is agnostic, so long as you have the latest browser.

It’s the best of all worlds: Your data lives on the Web (in online storage), and it’s still accessible offline in your browser.


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