Robin has a very interesting analysis of what may happen in the office suite market now that Google seems to starting putting it’s full weight behind its online applications. See “Google set to challenge Microsoft’s office monopoly.”
One thing that occurred to me in reading his article is the idea of discontinuous user training vs. something that is much more continuous. When Microsoft or anybody else puts out a major new release of a desktop product, there is a lot of retraining required of existing users. This causes hesitation when people are considering upgrades and can be a hefty expense as well as a large amount of lost productivity time.
I use Google Mail for my personal email. Every once and a while I’ll notice a new button or something that is in a new place. It’s not major and only takes a moment or two to figure out and then I’m on my way again. If done correctly, these changes can be inserted in a more or less smooth way and the “retraining” happens bit by bit. I guess I would say that I’ve been retrained and I didn’t realize it until a few minutes ago. Very sneaky!