In spite of all the hype this year, there’s still no real momentum among either consumers or businesses for Web-based office suites, according to independent, non-Microsoft-funded researchers.
Market watcher NPD has released results of a new study that found a very small number of its 600-plus-member U.S. customer panel are using Web-based consumer office-productivity suites as desktop office-suite replacements. NPD found:
- 94% of PC users have never tried a SaaS (Software as a Service) office productivity suite app
- 3.9% use SaaS apps as desktop compliments
- Only 0.5% use SaaS apps as desktop replacements
Compete.com’s most recent estimate of 1.5 million Google Apps users is on the high side and may be more of a measure of visits to Google’s site rather than use, according to NPD analyst Chris Swenson.
This survey simply indicates that a tipping point toward the cloud hasn't been reached yet. So-called Web phenomenon like Google search, Facebook or MySpace didn't mystically reach warp speed in adoption. Moving robust applications to the cloud is a bit more complex than instant messaging or a social graph. At some point software-as-a-service applications, with offline support, will take the bulk of the pie, but it will require a few more turns of the crank. I don't think that Microsoft has its head in the sand. It's a question of timing, but if Microsoft is too late to catch the big wave and launch a full SaaS assault, the company will suffer.