When I give presentations to technology types I am always amazed at how many have never heard of docs.com. Docs.com is a collaboration between Microsoft and Facebook to allow the creation (using Microsoft Office Web Apps) and the sharing (using Facebook) of these Office documents for FREE. To get an idea have a look at my docs.com stuff at:
Why would Microsoft want to do this you may ask? Firstly, most ‘younger’ people don’t use desktop applications anymore to create documents they use ‘cloud’ based alternatives. Microsoft realized that if it didn’t provide something to keep these people using Microsoft products they would lose them forever and potentially forgo future revenue as they moved into business and continued to use the same non-Microsoft ‘cloud’ products they use now.
Secondly, Facebook is really starting to become a very powerful feature of the technology landscape. Like it or not it is perceived as the place to be these days. This is further evidenced by the recent high profile defection of Lars Rasmussen (of Google Maps and Wave fame) and Kate Vale (Google’s first employee in Australia) to Facebook. You can read about these moves here:
Microsoft already owns a small percentage of Facebook and that is looking like a smarter and smarter move every day as Facebook continue to vacuum up all sorts of technology companies as it seeks to continue to grow and monetize its more than 500 million users.
Here is another interesting article “Google: The Search party is over” which details how Google is not only facing maturity in its major product (search), but also a brain drain to ‘hipper’ companies like Facebook. A few years back people considered Google untouchable, oh how times change eh?
All this makes for interesting reading and seems to indicate the way forward at this stage will involve Facebook. I would say that if you are pondering the ‘cloud’ then I think you should take a look at what docs.com (and Facebook) can do and where it may fit, because if you aren’t I’ll bet your customers and competitors are.