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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Might Softricity enable a real Office Live?

Many people would like to see an online Office product. Bill Gates says that what people really want are online documents. That is, if Office is available everywhere (with a full-desktop license or through some other interface) then the users need to get to their documents from any machine.

Setting aside this storage requirement (and the services to support it) for a moment, making Office available everywhere requires one of two things:

  1. An Office Live strategy that actually includes Office products — meaning re-writing or newly written Office applications for the Web (which is apparently what Bill Gates doesn’t think people want); or
  2. Easy deployment of the existing Office desktop products anywhere.

Isn’t that what Softricity’s SoftGrid product does? From their site:

All applications are instantly available anywhere in the world – from a user’s desktop or a browser . . . whether the machine is the user’s own computer or a device shared by many users; or whether the user is on a high-speed or dialup connection — or even completely disconnected.

In addition, they claim that they can rapidly pull just the part of the application needed by the user (again, from their site):

. . . the Softricity client rapidly responds and “pulls” only the code necessary to start the program from a central Server — typically 20-40% of the total code. This happens without any degradation in functionality or response time; applications launch within seconds, based on application size and connection speed.

So, Office 2007 + Softricity = Office Live?

Is this the real reason Microsoft is buying Softricity? Is this the Office Live strategy? Mr. Ozzie, is this your online strategy? Robert, do I have it right?

Yesterday I wondered about the overlap between Softricity and FlexGo. So, alternatively, Office 2007 + FlexGo = Office Live.

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    Roger Siggs wrote @ May 28th, 2006 at 7:30 pm

What I would forsee instead is a ‘business network’ package of desktops (vista) and server (Longhorn) with the Softricity client and server pre-installed. This would allow a pre-packaged rollout of workstation images, needing only population of pre-pakcaged applications and users (in Active Directory).

Exactly what SMS is supposed to do/be but isn’t quite yet.

Softricity, right before this announcement, had released a product specifically designed to integrate with SMS- I think we’ll see further integration of that product first, long before any ‘Office Live’ will happen. The way SoftGrid works currently lends itself wonderfully to business environments, but I’m not sure how well you’d get it to work with unauthenticated users.

    Robert W. Anderson wrote @ May 28th, 2006 at 9:13 pm

Thanks for the comment.

Honestly, my linking Softricity with Office is a shot in the dark. Does Microsoft have a grand Office plan bigger than just sell more licensed installs? I hope so, but maybe that is just wishful thinking.

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