Google is releasing a cross-browser extension called Google Gears which gives offline capability to online applications.
this is a pretty complex area, somebody should blog it with loads of links. We have to remember that Microsoft itself is no longer committed to the desktop, it views applications and user needs as switching back and forth between the desktop and the cloud effortlessly, at need.
But Google and Adobe teaming is potent. And releasing this as open source is smart: if it becomes the de facto standard for offlining Software-as-a-Service, this is the next big thing the SaaS industry has wanted.
Whether this has the legs for enterprise IT is another question, but a few years of Web success with every smallish business in the world would create a laboratory for all kinds of migration utilities
Migration: if business people can migrate all their legacy Excel spreadsheets to the cloud, out of MS, and into business intelligence apps offered on-demand, then that's a big loss for MS. I gather this is starting to happen with Outlook legacy files migrating to gmail, it was good enough for Zoli Erdos, but it's not perfect yet, and spreadsheet migration will have to be perfect.
On the other hand, MS knows all this and has plenty of its own developments going on. I suspect eventually the idea of Google and Microsoft being competitors for the same space gives way to the notion that they're just two big players in a vastly expanding network.
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