Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Albany, or Microsoft joins the cloud

Microsoft has confirmed testing of Albany, basically a repackaging of Windows Live@edu with the Office Live features included to form a Google Apps killer.

Given that Microsoft derives a large proportion of its income from the Office suite this is especially interesting as the economics of providing Albany, in terms of server infrastructure and the likely revenue gained from initial subscriptions to the service when it goes to production are unlikely to be in Microsoft's favour.

This suggests to me that Google Apps, and the GooglePack StarOffice download, as well as the availablity of good free office software such as Open office and IBM Symphony must be gaining ground, perhaps because of the unpopularity of docx and the office 2007 upgrade.

Microsoft is unlikely to admit to this, and there are no real metrics to show if this is the case. As we know Open Office downloads don't mean the same thing as copies in active use, and there are enough apocryphal stories out there, even have a few myself that suggest that Open Office is frequently downloaded yet little used.

My guess, and it is only a guess, is that the use of Google Apps for shared document editing and publishing coupled with the rise of ultra portables such as Asus's Eee has started a drift away from Microsoft signficant enough to cause concern in Redmond

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