The Unreasonable men posted about what the future holds for Microsoft as a SaaS player. It’s a great post, some of which I even agree with! 🙂
Part of the rationale for the UM’s point of view is a leaked Microsoft memo which outlines the closely couple nature between the new MS operating system and the Windows Live suite of services.
The UM however have an interesting perspective and one which stems from their involvement (I assume) within a large enterprise organisation. The UM say;
MS are in a unique position here. They own the desktop space, they own the email market. They have a growing and aggressive stance in the mobile market and they have a growing play in the unified comms space.
All of these share one key attribute. You use them all many times a day, that is to say they own eyeballs. Many many more eyeballs then Google, and look at their ad funded revenue and subsequent market cap. If MS pull this off not only will they get you on the desktop licenses, they’ll get you on the live component AND tie it all up with some advertising revenue to boot!! Ambitious play, perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but I’m pretty sure of the logic here.
Horses for courses. In an enterprise world, tied as it is to Outlook, MS Office in general and oftentimes IE to boot the above statement carries plenty of validity. However my contention is that the future is about small, nimble and agile organisations, the sort of organisations that run on Zoho, Google and Twitter. I use MS Office but I use Google apps or Zoho roughly 10 times as much as I do MS. Similarly I email with Google and browse with Firefox. We CRM with an Open Source/SaaS product and project plan, specify and Wiki with similar solutions.
So what does this all mean in relation to MS and SaaS?
Sure they have consumer eyeballs and enterprise eyeballs, but consumers will tend more and more to being earlier adopters and will outrun MS developments and even enterprise is starting to see the value in the new, nimble and alternative options.
My pick is that the operating system/windows live tie up will buy MS some time, but a reinvention is what’s needed if they really want to win this race. Can they do it?