September 5, 2008
At the Office 2.0 conference in San Francisco this week, ZoooS and Zoho offered new evidence that productivity software is moving to the cloud.By far the biggest news is a preview of Zooos, which turns Sun Microsystem's Open Office 3 into a Web based application -- and adds some new features along the way.
ZoooS inlcudes word processing, spreadsheets, presentation apps, and even an MP3 player. Offline support comes from a plug-in for Firefox and Safari. An Internet Explorer version is still on the way, which seems bass-ackward to me. According to my friend Rafe Needleman over at CNET, though, ZoooS' "real business is selling software for companies to install on their own servers." That way, they won't have to trust their confidential data to the cloud. The service is expected to cost service will cost $999 a year for 10 users when it launches next month. With slick collaboration features and the ability to run on mobile browsers, it could be an interesting option for many smaller companies. Zoho, meanwhile, is already a viable option, so don't worry that Zoho "evangelist" Raju Vegesna admitted that Zoho Docs isn't a major announcement. Basically, it pulls together the various Zoho applications into a single place. When I asked Vegesna if the name's resemblance to a large competitor in this space was a coincidence, he laughed and said the company had considered calling it "Explorer." And Vegesna also let slip the upcoming launch of CloudAvenue, which he described as a community described to analysis, not just news, about the trend toward cloud computing. He said it would launch today, but the site says you'll have to wait till Tuesday, September 9. Given bMighty's interest in cloud computing for growing companies, we'll definitely be taking a stroll down that street.
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