Missing an Opportunity

Recently at our home, we purchased a new laptop, which came with Vista on it. Sadly, it didn’t come with Microsoft Office on it, and I was not able to open any word docs, excel, or powerpoints. I asked the store how much it would cost to add office, and they suggested in was $175. This seemed like a lot of money for a software system that I’m used to seeing as a base line image on most computers.

As a result (and being web savvy, of sorts) I started to use Google Docs, an online, ‘free’ version of office. Google offers an online spreadsheet tool, as well as an online document word processing tool, all with collaborative features that I could share with others.

As I continued to use these Google docs, I started to infect others, evangelism runs within my veins, and soon my wife started to use it, and I used it for a variety of documents within my new employer. I’m not sure if it’s becuase of me, but other colleagues in my team are using Google Docs for team collaboration. It’s not just Google either, Zoho is coming around the bend quickly, and had quite a presence at the recent Office 2.0 conference in SF that attendees were wondering why Microsoft was not present.

I wonder if Microsoft is missing a major opportunity here by: 1) Not providing these basic tools on the OS that buyers are not willing to purchase and 2) Not being agile to see how information is moving to the cloud and thus offering tools for the online office. When I do a google search for Microsoft online office, it results in thanksgiving colored templates.

Talking to Rafe of Webware (they believe in the web as a platform) he mentioned to me that the internet has made boxed software irrelevant, as users can now download them from the web, or use web versions of products.

What other software companies are missing an opportunity because of the web?