Intel last weeksaid it would make a productivity and media-sharing suite called Glide Effortless, from startup TransMedia, available to its ultramobile PC hardware partners, offering an alternative to Microsoft Office. Count on some furrowed brows in Redmond.
Microsoft used to be the only game in town for productivity apps. That's still pretty much the case in business IT. But IT managers have a lot less control over what's going on inside the browser. And there's a lot going on there. Google last week combined its Writely word processing and its spreadsheet app into an online suite, Glide offers online and installed software, and there are hosts of other startups chasing this market with online apps.
Microsoft can take competition; its products aren't all about lock-in and inertia, and there's real value in its software. But Microsoft needs love from its partners, particularly since its capacity to instill fear has been curtailed by the courts. When Intel starts looking elsewhere for innovation, it's time for Microsoft to consider marriage counseling.
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