Moderator: Matt Marshall
Participants: Eric Hoffert, TJ Kang, Tom Snyder, Sridhar Vembu, Kevin Warnock, David Young
This panel consists of various startups trying to do realtime online demos of their offerings. We’re in the second one and so far they both sound like pitches for VCs (probably are, and there is nothing wrong with that). The ThinkFree demo was temporarily marred by the Gmail server being down. Google will be making an announcement in a bit, probably just the one that was widely made known yesterday. Since we have a couple of hundred of people in the room using the web, it’s causing the demo Internet access to be sluggish.
Zoho is fairing better and apps are very attractive and seemingly functional. The demoer is showing an HR spreadsheet app. When all you have is a hammer, er, spreadsheet, everything looks like a nail, er, rows and columns. Zoho is actually one of the more complete providers of online apps. Nice presentation editor.
gOFFICE is next. Site is application-oriented. Team is in CA, Poland, and China. Except for translators, gOFFICE is just the CEO, Kevin Warnock. Seems to be capitulating to the more superior features of Zoho and Google (especially with today’s announcement). Says real focus is on quality of the output, typesetting, than focus on supporting various output document formats. Will shift business probably to producing publication-quality results. Offering is available for $0.99 per user per month. Showed typesetting in Japanese. SURPRISE: typesetting is a wrapper around LaTeX! Kevin would like suggestions about what to do with his company.
It think it would be a good idea to summarize the 4 or 5 top innovative and useful things each one of these does and then look at which of the Office 2.1 apps will have them all. I’ve not heard of any patents in this space (online office apps) but that would also be good to check out.
Running out of power … I’ll add some impressions about the last demoer from Joyent later today.
Update: Ok, it’s late but here is a bit about Joyent. They handle online apps and they have experience providing online storage. The interesting part here to me was the announcement of “Jill’s Team,” essentially US-based administrative assistants who will work with you for $450/10 hours a month. Presumably these people, who are based in the US, will be experts in working with you within the Joyent environment. This was the first real Office 2.0 services offering that I heard announced today. By the way, the first time I went to the Joyent website it came up in a weird, rather minimal form. It might just have been the browser, because refreshing it set it up correctly. Nice use of consistently themed graphics throughout the site. Who is Jill, anyway?
Rafe Needleman, moderator of the panel I’m on tomorrow, has a review of this panel over at CNet.