Lets start with the technology worlds most powerful company and the product on almost every desk in the world. One of the big releases of the year is likely to be Microsofts Office 11. This is what Directions On Microsoft has to say on the challenge facing Microsoft in 2003: Office XP did relatively little to boost the bottom line. To maintain its leadership in business software and to generate revenue from its second-most profitable business, Microsoft must deliver an Office that will prompt customers to upgrade and prove that Software Assurance, its new upgrade program, is worth the substantial premium.
Windows and Office contribute almost all of Microsofts profits. That is why the release of Office 11 is so critical. Adds Amy Wohl on the significance:
Microsoft Office 11 seems to be positioned by Microsoft to be more than just a new release of an existing and very popular product.
Its sufficiently powerful (or power-hungry) that it requires an operating system upgrade to Windows XP It starts to fit into the world of .NET and Web Services with enhanced XML support For the first time, not just for Microsoft but for any Office Suite, the emphasis may be on getting to the data in the suites applications and keeping them updated (perhaps from outside data sources) or letting them update other applications.
Acccording to Jean Paoli, Microsofts architect of XDocs. The important thing is not the software that created the data, but the data itself. So the goal becomes to get to that data from any tool and XML becomes a convenient way to do that.
When Microsoft did customer interviewing as they formulated their plans for Office 11, they found customers consistently referred to disconnected islands of data, including documents, data in databases, and data in email. So the idea was to place this customer need and a solution for it at the center of the XML strategy for Office 11.
This use of XML in Office 11 will give a tremendous boost to Web Services. Says Victoria Murphy (quoted in Forbes): Conventional wisdom says that Web services are beginning to sound like the next Y2K: way overhyped and in the long run, a nonevent. But this is an oversimplification. Web services really do matter, and will bring huge benefits to users if standards like XML are followed. Microsoft is promising that its next release of Office will allow investors directly to pull data from corporate filings. This has far-reaching implications for how we get and manipulate data, and might just get rid of hoards of Wall Street-bound college seniors who want nothing more than to do data entry.
Tomorrow: Web Services and Utility Computing
Tech Talk 2003 Expectations