Friday, August 3, 2007

Office competitor: It's Partner, Pave or Pace

Cool site. Way oversimplified: Companies ask a question and pay for the top 3 answers

One of thier question:

Alternatives To Microsoft Office: Two Goliaths -- What Does David Do Now?
Top 3 Insights Receive $150 Each.
Google has received quite a bit of attention for the beginnings of its office productivity suite that can operate collaboratively online (as well as offline with Google Gears). But there are already several non-Microsoft office suites that are much more mature than Google's current office apps. However, by adding the weight of its brand to the Web2.0 productivity market, Google has apparently stolen the "thunder" of the upstarts who were pitching stones at Microsoft. As one of these alternative office suite developers,
1) What are the weaknesses of Google Docs & Spreadsheets?
2) How does a smaller office software firm promote itself with two giants in the same arena?

I got to thinking about it and wanted to answer it here:

My first answer is to do better research. Office has over 85% of the market. There are not two Goliaths, there is one Goliath and somebody else with a very big mouth.

But I think the solution has to come down to: Partner, Pave or Pace.

Do add-ons or extensions to one of the big guys. There is quite a bit of money here as the Goliaths like these people. They don’t have time to enable every feature in the world, but they have given the functionality to do this. They will even pick up a lot of your marketing expenses if you can get their attention.

No big company is fast. (Even Google, despite what they say.) There will always be space on the bleeding edge. For example, the last bleeding edge was getting reasonable editors into the different blogging web sites. Word 2007 can do that now, so that opportunity is fading, but I’m sure there is another one raising somewhere. Yes, you will be paving the way for the big guys, but there will always be room here. Monetization might be hard.

Run next to the big guys. Find a vertical or two and own it. This is what Apple has done. I would stay away from legal cuz it looks like the big guys are going there, but there are still lots of places untouched.

A combination of all three would probably bring the best results.