Microsoft took over a suite off the show floor at last week's Macworld Expo and persuaded some Mac stalwarts about their cloud applications. But the elephant in the room was the iPad.
In his report on the show, MacWindows Editor/Publisher John Rizzo said that Microsoft made a case that Office Web Apps are better for Office users than Google Apps.
Microsoft launched Office Web Apps last June. Although it's a few years behind Google Docs and has some catching up to do, the Redmond folks made a good case. If you're like most people who use a computer, you use Microsoft Office. Office Web Apps look and feel like Office for Mac and Windows, though simpler (and not as powerful).
If you know Office, there's almost no learning curve with Microsoft, while Google Docs takes a little study. And Google Apps requires a certain amount of conversion between it and Office desktop files, and displaying Office documents often is compromised. This is pretty seamless with Office Apps, and display of your desktop files is near perfect.
I respect Rizzo's opinion. Still, no matter what Ray Ozzie and all the cloud-heads have decided and declaimed as the future of computing, neither Google's or Microsoft's user experience are very satisfying to this user.
Instead, I suggest that the future of mobile computing — which is what Google and Microsoft are talking about when they say that you can "do more things virtually anywhere" — could be seen last week in the many iPad-centric booths on the Expo floor. This Apple device and its competition can go anywhere, connect to cloud resources and become the real online companions we want to use.
Dudes, cloud apps are so Y2K!