Microsoft jumps in the hosted application space Ryan 27 Oct 2005

30 comments Latest by Anonymous Coward

Hosted Everything is Microsoft’s new battle cry. It looks like Ray Ozzie is having an influence (although I suppose this was bound to happen anyway). Recurring revenues are hard to ignore.

Within a year, Microsoft plans to offer hosted implementations of SharePoint as well as its CRM and ERP applications. When asked which other products and services Microsoft would host, another Microsoft insider said, “Everything. Hosted Office. Everything hosted.”

“A year” is both a really long and really short time. Long in terms of things changing, short in terms of things getting implemented — especially in an organization as large as Microsoft.

Talk is cheap, of course. Let’s see what Microsoft actually delivers and how folks like respond. I’m also looking forward to seeing how Scoble feels about the news.

30 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Darrel 27 Oct 05

Maybe once they’re forced to maintain their own install of Sharepoint they’ll realize what a horrid POS it is to admin.

matias 27 Oct 05

I’d really like to see the performance of a web based microsoft office…

or will they overpromise and underdeliver once again?

Britt 27 Oct 05

You can only be late to the game so many times and still expect to win. Microsoft lacks the trust needed to be a truly successful host. A year is a long time.

JohnO 27 Oct 05

Well, it appears that this is a stepping stone for them, to get to “software as a service”… how long until they pull out the rug and *only* sell hosted services, where they totally own you and your data?

Jason Johnson 27 Oct 05

I fully agree with Britt. Microsoft has come late to the game innumerable times with half-assed products. They literally build a functional prototype and simply put their marketing and distribution heft behind it. This is catching up with them — and I’m sure, in some way, we will see backlash in accord with this move.

Do you recall the “new” msn search (beta) debut? The interface was sloppy, the functionality was poor, and it generally left a bad taste in your mouth. They’ll do the same with this.

I say, c’mon M$… bring your hosted office solution and we’ll all sit back and watch as Google and Sun hack you off at the knees.

Nick D 27 Oct 05

Whay does Microsoft think they need to do everything? Why don’t they just buy something that already works?

NigelMellish 27 Oct 05

I wonder how much of this is posturing because Google is now their perceived “main threat”. The logic being, “Google is hosted applications, so, now, Microsoft is hosted applications….”.

I also wonder how “cross platform” all of this will be. It will take AMAZING self-restraint for them NOT to put proprietary hooks into any web-based applications they host.

Finally, I challenge the rationale for going this route. I would think that people move to web based applications because they don’t want to use (or can’t use) Microsoft applications locally. It would seem that they are throwing away their main competitive strength for the sake of challenging Google, who, frankly, outside of search and email, haven’t really added *that* much value to my web experience. This is why I offer that this is mainly positioning - they’ll roll out web apps, but when they fail the institutional investors will question the legitimacy of Google’s business model and deflate their value (which could use a little good old fashioned deflation, IMHO) and subsequently reduce the threat to Microsoft.

AJR 27 Oct 05

Nick D, that is an awesome point and my only answer is they believe that if they are absent from any corner of the market then the perception is - is that they aren’t good enough or smart enough. So… they had to “out opengl” opengl, trying to “outPDF” PDFs and now this… I guess once their bottomless pit of money starts to show some bottom, they might be a little bit more selective of what they are doing. But yeah… it’s typical MS bullshit.

F2 27 Oct 05

where they totally own you and your data?

My data on Microsoft’s servers. What a scary thought.

Fred Jones 27 Oct 05

I heard through the grapevine about a year ago that MS already had rich UI, web-based version of the Office apps, but wasn’t yet ready to go that route.

I suspect we’ll see updated versions of those sooner rather than later.

Tim Case 27 Oct 05

where they totally own you and your data?

My data on Microsoft�s servers. What a scary thought.

My data on Google’s servers, any less scarier?

Why not?

There’s a new sheriff in town…

Minky 27 Oct 05

MS is so out of it it’s almost funny. They will be obsolete, and purchased, in 5-7 years.

blach 27 Oct 05

Based on Minky’s prediction, who would want to buy such a damaged brand as Microsoft if the wheels came off that bad. Name one thing outside of their Mouse and/or Flight Simulator that people really are about?

Nick Carlson 27 Oct 05

Too little, too late.

Microsoft won’t be able to pull this off. Hosted productivity applications are ment to be simple. And as we all know, Microsoft loves to take something simply and complicate it beyond all known comprehension.

For applications that require more complexity and security, Microsoft might carve out it’s own niche. However, I think they’ll first go after the marketspace that apps like Basecamp already occupy. Being as large as they are, they’ll never be able to keep up, or meet customers demands.

Don Wilson 27 Oct 05

where they totally own you and your data?

Oh god how I love people who think corporations own humans or have the power to use your meaningless docs and photos against you for some unknown reason.

JF 27 Oct 05

Oh god how I love people who think corporations own humans or have the power to use your meaningless docs and photos against you for some unknown reason.

Thank you, Don! I’m always amazed at this too. Sure, don’t store the launch codes in someone else’s safe, but other than that you shouldn’t worry so much about someone else hosting your data.

Don Schenck 27 Oct 05

Set aside you emotions and THINK: Microsoft is a very successful company.

Why? They’re a fantastic marketing machine.

You don’t have to like it, but they will succeed.

Hate Wal-Mart (I do), hate Starbucks, hate Microsoft, etc etc … but don’t let emotion blind you to the facts: Successful all of them.

Galatians 4:16.

All The Best,

— Don

Brian Christensen 27 Oct 05

Oh god how I love people who think corporations own humans or have the power to use your meaningless docs and photos against you for some unknown reason.

I think you’re missing the point. The fear is not that Microsoft will use someone’s “meaningless docs and photos” against him but rather that given Microsoft’s previous track record this will mean total lock-in to the MS platform. Do you really think they’ll make it easy to export your “hosted office” data to an open format so that you could potentially switch to a competitor’s service? Let’s be serious.

Jordan 27 Oct 05

What a lot of you seem to forget is that it doesn’t matter how horrible their version of it is—it doesn’t matter how badly it performs, if it looses some data, if it’s only available to IE on a few versions of Windows. People /will/ use it, simply because it’s MS, and most people start and end with MS.

I don’t think many people would say Windows, IE, or Office are particularly good products, but millions of people use them because it’s all they’ve ever known.

That’s why MS can keep limping along and never go down.

Paul Thrasher 27 Oct 05

NigelMellish - On the topic of Google changing the “web experience,” think of how much Adsense has changed the web and have made many things economically viable on the web.

I think this has changed the way the web works a lot more than any other product of theirs. It’s also their bread-and-butter that enables those products you mentioned, email and search. Without advertising, they would have never come out of beta. Oh, I mean alpha. ;) It’s also the only reason they’re able to cover my city (San Francisco) with free WIFI.

This topic also relates heavily to the previous “How do you feel about someone else making money off your content?” Advertising is the sort of behind-the-scenes enabler that the web needs to grow, now that everyone expects everything for free. We’re not socialists here.

Sure we’re afraid of proprietary lock-in and soul-sucking advertising but that’s sure as hell not going to stop most people from using these products if they’re entirely useful and/or commonplace. That puts a lot of pressure on the company to make a good product. They’re not going to throw shit at you on purpose. Really.

Also, I suggest looking at what makes these products successfull instead of critiquing out-right. You might learn something and, possibly, contribute something to society.

People must be using this stuff for a reason other than what’s been stated here, what is it?

hynes 28 Oct 05

All I can say as someone who works for firm which is a Microsoft partner, this hosting business isn’t going to be done solely by Microsoft. They looking for their business partners to roll out ASP models (if they don’t already have one in place) for their products. This is a practice that’s been done for a number of years and Microsoft has finally decided to pursue the low-mid to mid-markets with an ASP model. This allows many organizations to dramatically decrease their cost of ownership and pay someone else to make sure all their data has a disaster recovery plan in place and is backed up regularly. works for most simple CRM tasks, but an ASP modeled MSCRM will definitely give SalesForce a run for its money.

Vince 28 Oct 05

DonS: What are you eating?

Microsoft is a HORRIBLE marketer! I cannot think of one instance where MS marketing has shifted core influence in any market, aside from resorting to brute-force FUD.

The Windows campaigns have been truly laughable, as have anything related to Office, media, MSN, etc. etc. etc.

By contrast, Starbucks and Wal-Mart (for their market) really ARE great marketing leaders.

arjune 28 Oct 05

Agreed. when I think of good marketing, MS never comes to mind. Half the stuff they sell to the public is preinstalled on the PC you buy.

cody lindley 28 Oct 05

I’m most interested to see what OS and software they are going to use to host their web applications.

Joe 29 Oct 05

I would no more trust Google to host or store my information than microsoft.

Joe 29 Oct 05

I would no more trust Google to host or store my information than microsoft.

pwb 29 Oct 05

The whole hosted thing is overblown. Solutions like SugarCRM will eat Salesforce for lunch. Who wants to pay $65/month/head for glorified contact management? LAMP hosting is $10/month and SugarCRM is easy to install and run.

Shawn Oster 31 Oct 05

I dislike the whole hosted concept, whether it be Microsoft or Google or anyone else. Nothing like having to rely upon someone else’s uptime or bandwidth for your productivity. Work is already bad enough when the power goes out, now we have to depend on the phone or cable company as well?

A lot of applications benifit from a hosted solution but not everything, especially not something like Office.

Don Schenck 02 Nov 05

Right … my bad … Microsoft is horrible at marketing. That’s why no one has ever heard of them.

They might not be the best at PULL marketing, but they’ve done a great job of PUSH marketing.

Anonymous Coward 02 Nov 05

If Microsoft is bad at marketing, then I will take bad marketing over good marketing any day of the week. Look at their market share.