Monday, October 1, 2007

Microsoft Word has passed away. Time of death: 12.23AM.

Adobe has acquired Buzzword. Having one of the largest, and by the way, coolest, companies behind it will be the kiss of death to Microsoft Word.

With Buzzword, you get almost all word-processing functionality what really matters on your browser--with the addition of online collaboration. I was one of their first beta testers, receiving my invitation from Roberto Mateu on July 19th. I have Masters and PhD students writing up papers and theses with it, in real time collaboration, dispersed all around: Taisa is in the heart of the Amazon, Anne is in Harvard University, and Analize is in Curitiba, in the Brazilian South.

They have been adding features every month. It´s one of those things that, after you have it, you wonder how could you live without it. Soon, it will have the host of Adobe TrueType fonts, pdf support, offline functionality, etcetera. Yesterday it was alpha-geek only, but now it will spread like wildfire.

Adobe isn`t disclosing the financial part of the deal, but something like this just wouldn`t go for less than 100 million, perhaps some multiples of that. After this huge incentive, expect similar start-ups to jump in the Adobe AIR bandwagon and, twelve months from now, spreadsheets and more sophisticated presentation programs. In the future, expect everything all the way from charting to equation editors. Microsoft Office "ultimate" (¿?) goes for USD679,00. The "student edition" goes for USD149,00. (By the way, Apple should just give up this space and bundle iWork into new machines.) Scoble mentions that MS will still have some "office" revenue stream, yet: "There is blood in the water even if only the early sharks can smell it."

I`ve just replied to Tad Staley`s email, congratulating these folks.

As I wrote before, I´m almost feeling a little bit sorry for Mr Gates. But only almost. And only a little.

But, hey, maybe that cool Zune will make up for these lost sales?


Keir said...

I'm trying Buzzword now but on my computer at work it refuses to load; it just continues to "load styles."
The main reason I want to ditch Word is the inability to erase the 'smart tag' function once and for all. I'm a teacher so importing my students' smart tags and having to constantly remove them is a hassle. However, Buzzword from what I can gather wouldn't allow me to easily get homework, and I'm not sure it has tracking which permits comments.