Mary Jo Foley keeps some of the best IT morsels coming. Read her story on the Google/Sun Star Office pact and package here. I think she is right on Denmark – even as to the delay in game nature of the announcement. Then she adds the tidbit on Adobe entering the Office fray using its AIR/FLEX standalone +online offerings as a base(this could be quite good).
Google and allies (remember Adobe adopted Google Gears technology for Flex and AIR almost sight unseen) are like sharks around Microsoft Office because:
0)Office provides nearly 1/4 revenues and 1/3 of Redmonds profits;
1) Office 2007 is not popular in many IT shops for the great relearning and loss of a clear scripting pathway it imposes on many IT operations – especially given its continuing premium price;
2)IT shops also are none too happy with the proprietary slant of Redmonds XML Open – they dont want a repeat of ANSI SQL incompatible “standard” silos in the spawning-like-wildfire semi-structured and unstructured data worlds;
3)most importantly, there is still an architectural war going on in Redmond on how to defend the Office desktop from attack by Web 2.0. The Ozzie faction for both Desktop Software and Service; the Mundials for Smart Servers and Desktops tightly integrated and offering proforma Web/Mobile services.
So the sharks are circling because their technology is solid, their pricing is superior, and their lead in functionality may be attainable as Microsoft dithers on what approach to take.
Oh and everyone of the named companies perceives Microsoft as Enemy No 1. And well they should: Ballmer and cohorts have pledged to take chunks of Web ad revenues away from Google; despite kiss and make up Java is still treated contemptuously on Windows and IE – it takes 4 links and scrounging around to find the plugin for Suns Java on both IE6 and IE7; and practically the whole of Adobes product line has big bold Microsoft initiatives targeted as replacements.