There is a battle taking place right now for the eyes and minds and attention of primarily desktop Internet users. It is important because Sun was right – the Web is the Computer. Running offline or even running in a LAN is productive; but these days to get work done, to get entertained, to get informed – you got be on the Web.
So now those Web to desktop programs that you use all the time – be it Google/Microsoft/Yahoo search or Yahoo/MSN/AOL portals or Sony/Microsoft/Yahoo games or Google/Microsoft/Yahoo mail or Macromedia/Microsoft/Webex meetings/presentations/conferencing wares or AOL/Jabber/Microsoft instant messaging – they will be boxed, brought together, and bundled in new ways to beat the bandwagon. Why ? Because there is now going on a war for the consumer eye and minds and attention and loyalty equal to the last-mile wars going on in the hardware and telecom world between cable, mobile, long distance telephone, local telephone, and satellite grand tectonically converging industries.
Well its ditto on the software and services side.
Who is missing from the above list of software/service providers that definitely should be there ?
BT – nahhh
The TV networks – close but no cigar
Nokia and NTT/DoCoMo – not quite
Hollywood – your getting colder
IBM/Lotus – Bingo!
Software service providers know they must have a huge and loyal subscriber presence on the Internet desktop for 4 reasons:
1)to preserve and expand any desktop-only software/service positions they currently have;
2)to be in position to cash in with a loyal base of users when any new service trend emerges – say anywhere-I-happen-to-be local yellow page-like find a retailer/service provider including a map;
3)to be in position to provide premium services (that means paid for) for all the existing “free” web services – but now with guaranteed levels of security, availability, security, reliability, security, convenience+speed of operation with security and perhaps some added “free” functionality;
4)to be in position to have a large loyal base that will come on over to when the 1-2 billion PDA/MobilePhone/Gameboy/MediaEngine AMALGAMated users have enough computing power and WIFI or otherwise bandwidth to act like a 2004 desktop computer (about 2-3 years away).
Software as an on-demand service is happening on the business side of computing. But guess what ? It is happening even faster on the consumer/single user side.