Thursday, February 22, 2007

Google Offers Web Apps

Today, Google announced the availability of a web-based, premium suite of office applications targeted to businesses. For a flat, $50 fee per user, per year, the zero-footprint software can be rapidly scaled up or down - depending on business needs and personnel configurations. The trend toward rich Internet applications coupled with the emergence of techniques like Ajax, could threaten the market share and strategic directions of Microsoft - which has just shipped Vista with a new suite of office applications at a much higher pricing point. While Intel continues to rely on founder Gordon Moore's model of ever bigger, ever faster microprocessors; companies like IBM are experimenting with a new breed of CPU that is optimized for speed and efficiency, rather than raw computing power. What kind of environment suits such a chip? Web-based computing and communications that wraps across multiple platforms. Investors bold enough to include tech stocks in their portfolios would be well-served to take a look at which companies they hold that are well-positioned to benefit from this new, Internet-driven direction, and which ones still don't "get it."

Related Anecdote: I once worked with the greatest writer of serial communication drivers on the planet. That's all he did, serial communications. He was so good that a major chip maker, that will remain un-named, contracted with his home-based consultancy for a lot of their really difficult driver work. He told me on one occasion that he received a spec. for some really bloated code that provided the necessary functionality in the clunkiest, most inelegant way possible. Thinking the spec. was in error, he called his contact - only to be reminded rather abruptly that his host was in the business of selling ever-more-powerful processors to folks who really thought they needed them. "Write the driver just as it was specified," concluded the conversation. Surprised? I didn't think so.

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