I have been trying out Microsoft’s free Office Web Apps that came out last week. All you need is a Windows Live account (read Hotmail account, and who doesn’t have one of those?) Needless to say, I have been pretty impressed on how it is as a first-gen cloud app goes. While it does not have all components as a desktop version of the software, there is more than enough trinkets and tidbits to put together a respectable document. They offer Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Pretty cool.
I guess what stumps me is Microsoft’s move to the “cloud”. From a company that has made its mark (and its money) on operating systems and applications for desktop computers, what is the motive to move to the ethereal cloud and offer free web apps? Is a knee-twitched reaction to stay current with Google-who have their own suite of free web apps-or something else? What am I missing? While I applaud the move to web apps, I am curious of the business model to make it successful, profitable without snubbing users.
I’ll admit, me and Mr. Gates aren’t as tight as I would like, so I don’t have the inside scoop on how all this will pan out. I assume the first-gen freebees will be enough of a draw for convertible people before they get slammed with membership fees?
Even free comes at a price…