Gianpaolo Carraro is Microsoft’s top man in SaaS strategy— wonders if he’s drunk too much Kool-Aid. The comment comes as a way of lightly brushing off attacks on Microsofts software+services strategy.

Gianpaolohas an interesting rationale for still wanting to buy an Office licence and run Microsoft’s productivity software on his computer:

… as far as user interaction is concern[ed], I am a big believer in bringing it as close to the user as possible. Why would I ever want the cloud between me and my work?

Hmmm – over on Zdnet, the point is made that the cloud now exists everywhere, making a case that cloud=scary and installed=comfortable flies in the face of reality. It’s akin to saying search by library=good while search by internet=bad.

Phil over on Zdnet also comes up with an analogy for Microsoft’s strategy;

In a famous essay in Harvard Business Review, Theodore Levitt once wrote that the great railroad companies of the nineteenth century subsequently went into decline “because they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than in the transportation business.”

Would it have helped the railroads if they’d gone around saying, “A lot of people are talking about transportation as the next big thing, but we believe it’ll always be a railroad-plus-transportation world”? Maybe it would have helped them make the transition, but at the end of the day, history tells us that transportation ended up being a lot more than railroads. The same is true of software and services today. Software looks more important right now because there’s a lot of it about. It’s a big industry. But services will become dominant in the future, and software will become merely a part of what powers them.

I used to work for a guy who had a favourite analogy. He used to say that when someone goes to a hardware store to buy a drill bit, they’re not really after a drill bit they’re after the hole it will eventually make. At the time we used to think it was a strange sort of a story but in retrospect it’s entirely correct.

Gianpaolo also says;

I love Office 2007, the interface is clean, efficient and now very familiar.

Gianpaolo, while self serving on a small scale, your quote doesn’t do progress justice. Surely Gutenberg would be happier in his grave if we were still printing by press, but we’ve moved on. Just because an incumbent is comfortable and familiar isn’t justification for continuing its use – disruption is good!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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