Read this posting about Office Live from Infoworlds Oliver Rist and this other posting about Microsoft entering the domain name registration game. Microsoft appears to be opening up another front on Linux and LAMP. Linux is currently foiling Microsofts attempts to enter and dominate in the SMB-Small-Medium Business market with its 70%++ market share largely driven off of web hosting services. So Office Live is really targeted not towards the WordProcessing/Spreadsheet/Presentation replacement market; but rather towards small businesses and professionals – the meat of the LAMP “strength” in the Web space.
Microsoft is taking advantage of three things. First, it has had two previous kicks at the Business Web cat with Commerce Manager and a bevy of Web Business Accounting Packages. Repackaging these offerings in a Office Live-based Web context gives new energy to otherwise marginal (read, not lived up to expectations)products. Second, just visit this or any other Google: “top ten web hosting sites.” Yep, the web hosting market is highly fragmented and, dare I suggest, offering sometimes worst of the car salesmen type services. In short, it is hard to find a really good web hosting Service. Even with big names in like Yahoo and Dell, the business is also laced with “fly by night” disappointments. With a modicum of discipline, Redmond may be able to deliver “better”.
Third, Microsoft is building a huge multi-million square foot server complex on the Columbia river just like Google. But unlike Google, I suspect this facility may be used not exclusively for Web Searches but rather house Office Live and Web Hosting services on a massive scale. Microsoft just joined the club for domain name granting. Microsoft has even more money in its coffers to spend than Google. And Microsoft always loves two targets with one blow – Google and Linux-LAMP take it on the Noggin if Office Live Business really does take off and Microsoft, despite its IE and Web debauchery, takes a lead in Web 2.0 by capturing a huge business market position.
So we will be watching Office Live and specifically its Business offerings a lot more closely.