Re: Electronic signatures
For many customers, I think it was already tipping, even before this announcement. People are skeptical about cloud delivery models and recurring subscriptions-- but that problem involves conditioning customers to new business models, not weakness with the actual product. As far as I can tell, Office 365 offers a lot of benefits in terms of cost savings, reduced IT demands, mobile-ready workforces, and so on. It's a strong package.
Microsoft still faces threats, of course. A lot of people spend more time using Android tablets and iPads than they do PCs-- not necessarily for creating documents, but certainly for reviewing them. The absence of Office on either of these leading tablet OSes has arguably made Microsoft vulnerable on certain fronts. The slowing of the PC market (a traditional engine for new Office sales) hasn't helped either, though Microsoft has reported a promising uptick in consumer 365 subscriptions.
Here's another challenge: a lot of people are happy with older versions of Office. Office 365's features are potentially useful-- BI tools; cross-pollination among the apps, like having Lync available inside of Outlook; access to documents on almost any device at any time; etc. But it's all more than a lot of people need. Simple e-mail, spreadsheets and word processing apps can go a long way. That's where Microsoft competitors such as Google come in.
Google doesn't offer the deep functionality that Microsoft does-- but for most people, it offers enough, and it's cheap or free, depending on your needs. Office 365 is a good product that's already on its way to becoming a blockbuster, multi-billion dollar revenue stream. That said, the old PC-era Office model has traditionally been an even bigger revenue stream. It remains to be seen if Office 365, big as it will surely become, will compensate for shifts elsewhere in the product line.
This DocuSign deal, though, can only help. Easy eSignature integration is something businesses of all sizes, and even many consumers, can use.
What do you think, readers? Was Office 365 attractive before this deal? Has the DocuSign deal made it any more appealing? If you prefer Google or some other alternative, any reason for dumping Office?