The Tipping Point for SaaS and RIA
It's no longer a secret that Software as a Service (SaaS) is becoming a real industry. In RIA-zation of Office Tools and Adobe Buzzword: It's the Mac vs MS-DOS Debate All Over Again, I argued that any industry, including the very well established Microsoft Office stronghold, is now prone to a massive takeover by competitors who would:
- lower technical barriers - i.e. offer software as a service that can be up and running right away without requiring installation and without stumbling over OS or equipment related obstacles along the way
- lower cognitive barriers - i.e. software that favors instant engagement, that is easy to discover and learn, and that provides a sense of gratification to its users (in my days, this was summarized as "user-friendly software")
Yesterday, InstaColl, a Bangalore-based company co-founded by Sabeer Bhatia (founder of Hotmail.com), announced an RIA-zied online office suite named Live Documents. Live Documents joined the ranks of Google Docs, Zoho Writer and many others who are discretely nibbling away at the office market. But unlike its competitors who are trying to stay under Microsoft's radar (or so they claim publicly, politely and politically in every interview or announcement), Live Documents is boldly declaring war against Microsoft Office.
I think this is a "tipping point" day in the history of the industry. SaaS and RIA just came out of the closet.