Blog Post

Meet Ajax Write

Our good buddy, Michael “disruption is my middle name” Robertson is at it again. After taking on Vonage and Skype with SIPphone and Gizmo Project, he is now going after Microsoft’s cash-cow application, Microsoft Word, using a new online word processor called ajaxWrite. As if we don’t have enough of these ajaxy word processors! Still, in an email, Michael Robertson writes:

Remember all the ridiculous hype over the Google/Sun partnership which turned out to be a big pile of vaporware? Google will never be able to take OpenOffice and cram it into an ajax program – won’t happen. CAN’T happen. It’s like trying to turn a semi truck into a hybrid.

There is no registeration or anything of that sort. Go to the website, hit the “ajaxwrite’ button, a new window opens up, and while it looks like a cut rate wordprocessor, it gives you an interface that is remarkably familair – circa 1994. It works only with Firefox and well things Safari is just an old and tired browser. It is fast, I must say, and it can convert documents to and fram Microsoft Word format. You can also save your work as a PDF file.

I am not sure what the business model is, for there seems to be no ads or no obvious way of making money. But then that’s just how Robertson rolls, or rather rolls out his services.

30 Responses to “Meet Ajax Write”

  1. It’s a good idea, but perhaps helps most those who are less intensive computer users.
    I can’t imagine buying Office and if you can avoid lugging a laptop through airport security, I am all for it.
    And I am all for Firefox, Openoffice, Thunderbird, Gmail.
    Since we use applications to create documents to share with others, this trend will continue. Using (expensive) Office to create is one thing, then one must show it to others for editing or their own use with large email attachments, cds, floppies, etc. or actual paper and Fedex.

  2. Herbert

    Say what you say about Microsoft and their programs. These newbies will not replace them in the business word/environment. Microsoft is too entrenched. Yes, the program is huge and may be bloated but it has all the features you need or may never need.

    Casual users, students, etc. may use these programs. But there’s got to be more than just basic word processing. Microsoft has many advanced features and in my work some of the basic things I use it for include: mail merge, linking excel spreadsheets into word, etc. The question is once these programs add more functions to the program, will it be as reliable? One thing big Micro has is years of working on the bugs.

  3. I think the ajax technology is one of the greater things in recent times. Its simple to use, makes the web behaive like an application without using tons of clients and proprietary stuff like Java or .Net and whatnot.

    If it takes off it will make a very nice distribution model for various applications that fit on the internet. Word processing is one that i think fit very well. Put in a conversion service for buggy/broken MS word documents and you have a revenue model. I also would love to see things like educational applications on the net. Those are dead simple to make but still distributed on disks, floppies and made in visual basic or even Dos format. A service with math apps and geography apps would be a direct market hit for all the schools running Linux or any other OS besides Windows.

    I think Michael can make this fly if he delivers the apps with services on the side.

  4. I did try AjaxWrite. It seemed to be working fine for just basic document preparation. I created a simple document, i tried the font changes, size changes, highlights, color everything seemed to work fine. I was having problem with alignments, i was not able to align certain sentences to middle and right handed alignment was also creating problem. I was just checking my datatransfer rate i see that definitely good amount of data transfer takes place and though Ajaxwrite claims its zero cost, everytime we try to use Ajaxwrite, we would still end up paying for the datatransfer cost.

  5. Only the other day i was going through a post mentioning about bubble 2.0. Is a bubble really forming up for Web 2.0.? One thing is sure about all these products, Microsoft Office is a well proven application. To replicate its success and to convince people, it is surely going to take lot of time. More over, this is a doubt, if every time we happen to open an application from Net, wouldn’t our data transfer be High? Wouldn’t we end up paying higher connectivity charges unless we are subscribed to unlimited bandwidth? One observation is that these applications may play a role probably after another 3-5 years.

  6. First of all , i have everything AJAX. I dont want to know if a product/service is using AJAX or not. So they got the name all wrong.

    Remember how .Com became a curse word after the bust, i can see the same with AJAX. Typical hype cycle.

  7. hardcoreUFO

    ajaxWrite doesnt come close to Zoho Writer or Writely in features or usability. I could not even get the pull down menus to work. I dont see why anyone would use this application.

  8. Christoph Wegener

    I haven’t seen anyone discussing ajaxwrite’s affiliation with linspire. ( is registered to Michael Roberston, Founder and Chairman of LinSpire)
    Maybe the creators of “the world’s easiest Linux desktop” just need some advertising for the own product!?

  9. Trackback: Yet another… [Yawn] …web-based word processor was annouced today. While that isnt’ very interesting… what is interesting is the large quantities of unintended comedy found in Michael Robertson’s announcement…

  10. I agree about IE, I just want to use something that works and I use IE these days because I got fed up with Firefox bugs, but I don’t really care which browser I use–as long as it works. And as for more AJAX apps…I love living in the cloud–most of my apps now live in the cloud and there is very little that sits on my client that is “personal” and that’s the way it will be for many people. And very soon we will not care where our apps are located–client or server–just that we have access to them wherever, whenever, and on whatever–maybe that’s what the www. means :-)

  11. If you’re serious about unseating MS Word, why would you build something that only works in Firefox? All the functionality (and more) in ajaxWrite are easily accessible in IE, too. Can someone give me a reason to exclude IE other than pure anti-MS politics?

  12. Didn’t we see a metric ton of online office apps go under after the web 1.0 bubble burst? Why is it that some techies believe that stirring Ajax into that cold soup makes it a delicacy for customers?

    There are sensible ways to bring web-style apps to the desktop, and integrate them with existing office apps and content. I cover them on my blog, “Web 2.5: The Always-On-You Web”…

  13. So I read Michael’s blog entry where he excitedly proclaimed how ajaxWrite is better than Word because it “opens up in seconds”. I went over to where it says “click on the icon to open up a word compatible word processor in seconds”. I clicked on it. I counted the seconds. 1.2.3…20 seconds and then … an error page! So then I fired up MS Word – 3 seconds, no problems.

    Michael says that traditional software is no good because you “have to drive to the store” to get it. Who says? I’ve never driven to a store to buy software! It’s very easy to purchase software online, download it and install it with one-click installers.

    He says that he is exploding the traditional financial model by making software free. Hmmm … so what’s HIS financial model. Free is hardly a financial model. How does he expect to make money out of it – someone’s got to pay the programmer’s wages and the hosting costs – especially when they get bigger because he needs a bigger pipe and a faster server so that the software actually WORKS!

    Ajax, web 2.0 yawn. Who cares – all anyone wants is software that WORKS. MS Office WORKS – that’s why people pay for it!

  14. More usable than its competitors? I just tried it and loaded a trivial single page Word document into it. It completely screwed up the formatting – all the text was centre justified (there is no centre justified text in my document), and the line spacing was totally wrong. It wasn’t like there was a lot of complex formatting in my test document to start with.

    It has to actually work for people to switch.

  15. TRACKBACK: AjaxLaunch ist eine neue Plattform, die sich ein ehrgeiziges Ziel gesetzt hat: Jeden Mittwoch soll es dort eine neue webbasierte Anwendung geben, die mit Hilfe von Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) programmiert wurde. Den Anfang macht heute ein Knüller: Die kostenlose Textverarbeitung AjaxWrite.

  16. Michael Robertson is really one of the most bright and distruptive entrepreneurs ever. This ajaxWrite thing looks silly at first, but the application itself is much usable than its competitors. It should get better and better.