Sunday, February 11, 2007

Recasting the Word Processor for a Connected World - New York Times

Interesting snapshot, although it also includes some questionable assertions about Office (e.g., ThinkFree downloadable version for $49 versus $400 "that Microsoft charges most users for its Office 2007 suite of applications"; the Office 2007 Home and Student Edition, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote 2007, lists for $129 on Amazon.com at the moment).

The big advantages of Web-based applications “are remarkably ordinary,” said Mitchell D. Kapor, who founded the Lotus Development Corporation and now runs the Open Source Application Foundation, which is developing personal information management software. He said those advantages boiled down to not having to install and maintain software on your system, and the ability to share information more easily. But ordinary can be good, he added, and in a well-established field like desktop applications, small steps are better than big ones.

“From a business perspective, actually, too much innovation is a liability,” Mr. Kapor said. If a product differs too much from previous technology, it can be an “enormous deterrent” to adoption, he said. “A lot of innovators have run afoul of that,” he added, “and been shipwrecked on the rocks of inertia.”

Source: Recasting the Word Processor for a Connected World - New York Times

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