While Microsoft and Google continue to gouge each other, startups such as Zoho sneak in to lure small and midsize businesses to their low-priced cloud computing apps. The startup harbors no illusions about its inferior market position to the Microsoft Office and Google Apps giants. Zoho sees the market evolving to componentization, with office apps becoming components within other apps. This threatens the $19 billion Office cash cow as Microsoft Office 2010 enters the market.
With all of the
smack-talking and chest-bumping
going on between Google's enterprise team and
Microsoft's Office group, it's easy to forget about other cloud computing
vendors who may be affected by Microsoft's launch
of Office 2010 May 12.
Office 2010 includes Office Web Apps, a cloud
computing-based component of its productivity software suite designed to
challenge Google's own Docs document, spreadsheet and presentation
applications. Office Web Apps includes Web-based editions of Microsoft OneNote,
Excel, Word and PowerPoint which Microsoft users can access through their browser.
While Microsoft and Google continue to gouge each other
with japes and customer wins, startups such as Zoho sneak in to lure
small and midsize businesses to their low-priced cloud computing apps.
offers both Web-based
collaboration apps such as Zoho Writer, Zoho Mail and Zoho Sheet, but the
company also makes enterprise apps, such as Zoho CRM.
Zoho Product Evangelist Raju Vegnesa harbors no illusions
about Zoho's inferior market position to the Microsoft Office and Google Apps
giants. The company has 3 million users using Zoho apps, compared to 30 million
Google Apps users and 500 million-plus Office seats.
Vegnesa believes the office apps game is changing,
metamorphosing into something else. He pointed to the market evolution of the
telephone to mobile phones in the telecommunications market as an analogy.
While analysts criticized the move to mobile phones, it's clearly worked out
for carriers, with users spending more time on mobile phones than landlines.
Another example is the migration of music from the
boombox to digitization on the desktop, on to mobile devices such as Apple's
popular iPod, and then finally into mobile phones and other Swiss Army
knife-like devices that do several things for consumers.
Vegnesa sees this same "componentization"
happening in the collaboration market, with Office suites evolving from desktop
application suites to online application suites.