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Summary:

Its been a couple of days to digest the Microsoft Live news, and try and understand its implications. Microsoft’s Mapping efforts, its foray into VoIP and the so called Live offerings – are emergence of what I think is a semblance of a business model. Even […]

Its been a couple of days to digest the Microsoft Live news, and try and understand its implications. Microsoft’s Mapping efforts, its foray into VoIP and the so called Live offerings – are emergence of what I think is a semblance of a business model. Even though my aging hipster analogy is unchanged, Microsoft Live’s implications came to me later, which watching Fashion TV. Anyway while watching some of the fall shows, I realized that there is a lot of similarity in what I was watching on the big screen, and what is happening in Silicon Valley.

In the fashion world, haute couture designers like Tom Ford and Dolce & Gabana create eye-popping outfits, that impress the fashionistas worldwide, and generate gushing headlines around the planet. A few hundred of them are sold at prices high enough to pay off the debt of some struggling nation. However, a few months later, pale imitations of that daring vision start to show up in mainstream stores like Macy’s, and thousands of consumers buy them. That’s when the real money is made.

The Web 2.0 pioneers who created some fantastic new apps are like those star designers. They created the template of what’s cool. A few months later, just like Macy’s Microsoft learnt the new babble. Microsoft Office Live, is the watered down version of Web 2.0, wrapped in a business model for folks who don’t know and frankly don’t care about Ajax or whatever that goes into the cauldron. I am not quite sure how it is going to play out, but that’s all that it is. Nothing more, nothing less. The world domination slides not withstanding. Took me a while to figure that one out…. Pssh….Scoble you should go and talk to them bean counters. They might be on to something.

By Om Malik

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  1. How is MSFT’s actions with Live any different from what they have done throughout their history? Shouldn’t Web 2.0 join the list of ‘things Microsoft copied’? Let’s see (in no particular order), Netscape, MacOS (and OSX) and Lotus 1-2-3 and… you get the picture.

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  2. There is no product called Microsoft Live. The product names are Office Live and Windows Live. Only web 2.0 features I see in these products are support for RSS ( Then again RSS is a copy of Microsoft CDF format ) and XMLHTTP (AJAX) is as old as IE 4.0 ( Circa 1998). Iam not sure who is copying is who?.

    PS I dont work for Microsoft.

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  3. Mac OS is copy of Xerox Desktop.
    Lotus 1.2.3 is VisiCal copy.
    Netscape is copy of UIUC mozilla.

    Who is copying who ?

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  4. Your analogy of fashion to Web 2.0 babble is brilliant, simple and cuts to the core. Cutting edge and sexy wins the minds of the elite but ends up having minimal impact in the real world. Which is why mashups, Ajax and all this other stuff we’re hearing is going to be the death of MSFT is probably just hype. They’re going to nip a lot of stuff in the bud with their recent initiatives and move to being a little less evil. Looks like the expected dismantling at the hands of GOOG may still be a ways off…

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  5. Om,
    Enough of Microsoft. MS has more enemies than friends and if the Webs Big 3 get together with Open Source community and hi-tech companies in the valley, Web 2.0, Web 3.0..Web n.0 will always remain a dream for Microsoft.

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  6. If you dig a little bit deeper, you’ll find that the major department stores are suffering from challenges similar to those faced by MS. Check out this analysis from A.T. Kearney:

    “Department stores are product emporiums filled with too much merchandise. Consumers often see them as having high prices, not being very innovative, and offering mediocre service and product knowledge.”

    http://www.atkearney.com/main.taf?p=5,1,1,115,6,1

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  7. balasundaram ramaswamy Saturday, November 5, 2005

    fast second, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0787971545/102-5402101-6066508?v=glance.
    is also related concept. Microsoft has been able to do the “fast second” to several companies till now. But how successful it would be able to replicate the effect again this time is the question.

    For example, Microsoft has had tremendous control over the apis. But will they be ahle to obtain the same level of dominance with their Atlas, AJAX APIs?

    Web 2.0 apps would also include lightweight office and collaboration apps. Even if Microsoft does them without tying it their existing offerings as they have announced, Microsoft can at best retain its hotmail and MSN users. We can expect Yahoo and Google will also be able to replicate microsoft’s technology and retain their user base. This would reduce Microsoft from its monopoly position to one of the top 3 position.

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  8. It looks as though you were correct when stating that this looks like the semblance of a business model. With the announcement of the Zune portable media player and inevitable Zune Live service it appears Microsoft is taking steps towards shifting business models to a services provider.

    http://www.zunemax.com

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