Who needs a desktop? Part 1 -- Web-based applications

edited transcript of a blog-chat session held March 22, 2006

This was the first of what we hope will be a long series of bi-weekly blog-based chat sessions on
topics related to business on the Internet. Check http://iblogcom.blogspot.com/ for news about
upcoming sessions and also to access the chat room.


Raju Vegesna, invited speaker from from Adventnet, makers of the Zoho suite of AJAX Web Applications
Yoah Bar-David, invited speaker, co-founder of irows.com
Alfred Thompson from Microsoft
Doug Cubell, Boston-based tech sales
John Lin, from Adobe, business development/product marketing in the Platform Business Unit
Richard Seltzer, co-moderator, seltzer@samizdat.com
Sudha Jamthe, co-moderator, sujamthe@moomli.com

Major topics


Richard Seltzer: Welcome Raju, please introduce yourself.

20:01:02 Raju Vegesna: I am Raju Vegesna, Architect @ Zoho.

20:01:21 Richard Seltzer: Welcome Alfred Thompson and John Lin, Please introduce
yourselves, we're just getting started.

20:02:01 Alfred Thompson: I am Alfred Thompson with Microsoft and a long time
observer of social computing

20:02:37 John Lin: I am John Lin with Adobe

20:04:23 Richard Seltzer: John Lin -- what do you do at Adobe? And is Adobe
involved in Web-based applications?

20:04:56 John Lin: I am in business development/product marketing in the
Platform Business Unit (PDF, Flash)

20:02:19 Richard Seltzer: Wecome Doug Cubell, please introduce yourself. We're
just starting.

20:03:46 Doug Cubell: Oh, hi, I am Doug Cubell. I am a Boston-based tech sales
guy, mostly bizdev and channels for infosec and wireless

20:10:27 Yoah Bar-David: Hello, this is Yoah Bar-David from iRows. Sorry for
being late, but we had a power outage.

20:10:44 Richard Seltzer: Welcome Yoah, glad you could make it. We  just getting started. I've been asking
Raju some very basic questions about web-based apps.

20:11:23 sujamthe: Richard, Yoah is the founder of irows, webbased AJAX

What do we mean by web-based applications?

20:03:39 Richard Seltzer: Raju, please explain. Presume I'm a total novice
(which when it comes to Web-applications is true). What applications are you
talking about? How do they relate to the standard Microsoft Office applications?
How does one access the Web-based version and where does one store the

20:04:33 Raju Vegesna: We provide productivity enabling applications like
webbased word processor (Zoho Writer), Spread sheet application (Zoho Sheet), a
complete collaboration product (Zoho Virtual Office), Daily planner (Zoho
Planner), CRM (Zoho CRM) etc.

20:05:08 sujamthe: Raju, Raju, are all of them Web based AJAX Applications?

20:05:26 Raju Vegesna: Yes, all of them are AJAX Apps

20:05:29 Richard Seltzer: Raju -- I'm still lost. What is the relationship
between your word processor and Microsoft Word? And likewise you apps and the
Microsoft apps? We really need to start at a base level. What
is an AJAX app?

20:06:02 Raju Vegesna: We provide a completely web apps. MS apps are installable
in a computer while our apps run ona server. People can access our applications from their browser and
they dont need to install it on the machine they are working on

Interoperability of desktop applications and their Web-based equivalents

20:06:55 sujamthe: Raju, are zoho apps compatable with MS apps? For example, can
I take my existing Excel sheet and upload it into Zohosheet?

20:06:56 Raju Vegesna: The aim is to provide a location/machine/OS/Browser
independent office environment for individuals and businesses which enables
collaboration and productivity.

20:07:02 Richard Seltzer: Raju -- If I create a document in Word, can I open
it/share it with your word processor? If I create a document with your word
processor, can I open it, edit it etc. with Word on my desktop? Are these apps

20:07:21 Raju Vegesna: Yes, You can take an excel sheet and import it into Zoho
Sheet and do it vice versa. You can do the same for Zoho Writer too which works with
MS word docs Yes, you can create a doc in Zoho Writer and export it in
Word format and use it on your desktop

Revenue model and long-term implications of web-based applications

20:06:47 Doug Cubell: these web-based apps are really getting exciting! One day
we will all just have web-terminals.

20:14:47 sujamthe: I am an enterprenuer, was co-founder of Coola, a mobile
server platform. I love the idea of disengaging from the desktop totally.

20:16:39 John Lin: where the network is the computer. From a business model
standpoint, I am interested to hear how web hosted apps what the revenue model

20:18:32 Richard Seltzer: John -- I agree. I'd very much like to hear about the
revenue model. What does the user pay? And what does the user get?

20:17:43 Richard Seltzer: Yoah and Raju -- I would think that there is enormous
potential for Web-based apps, if they allow people to work from anywhere -- from
any kind of portable device -- and store their data online, and share their
documents securely with their teams.

20:17:47 Yoah Bar-David: All the online tools will have to develop a seamless
integration option

20:22:11 Raju Vegesna: Regarding Revenue model....we offer these apps as
products to be installed in your location. We charge for these products.
For a company using applications like writer or sheet, we
charge them for it as it'll be hosted specific for a company.

20:22:55 Richard Seltzer: Raju -- what is free? just the storage? or the use of
the applications? How do you make money?

20:23:14 Raju Vegesna: Basic storage + use of applications will be free

20:23:43 Richard Seltzer: Raju -- what do you charge? ballpark? I'd like to get
a sense of whether using web-based apps is or could be less expensive than
buying Office from Microsoft?

20:23:44 Raju Vegesna: we make money by selling services to companies and
selling the productized version to corporates who want to host these apps

20:24:52 Raju Vegesna: To give you a ballpark....with 1GB of storage, you
probably are looking at around $5 or so per month.

20:25:15 Richard Seltzer: Raju -- that doesn't sound viable. That sounds like
what one does when there are few users and you are trying to get started. But
long-term, it's only natural that there will be costs. And to try it at all, I'd
need to know, ballpark, what I'm getting

20:26:27 Yoah Bar-David: Richard, regarding pricing, look for example for
XDrive, they charge $10 monthly for 5GB

20:27:01 Richard Seltzer: I'm remembering Mango's efforts. They had a great
storage environment, seamless, secure, easy to use. But their pricing was so
high that few companies tried it. Now I'm wondering about the pricing for this

20:28:51 Richard Seltzer: Stepping back -- it feels like there are two main
reasons for web-based applications. One is collaboration (sharing documents over
the Web), and the other is remote access to your own applications and the
ability to work on them from anywhere from non-computer devices.

20:33:18 Doug Cubell: Richard, I like your point. You don't need much of a
machine to run a browser

20:29:45 Yoah Bar-David: There are other benefits of web apps: No install, No
virus eating your files No patches etc

20:32:04 Richard Seltzer: Yoah -- another benefit would be (I think) not having
to upgrade from one version of Office to another.

20:34:06 Raju Vegesna: Doug...so you can buy a machine for cheap, install Linux
and use your browser with these web apps.

20:34:27 Doug Cubell: sounds great! Where do I sign up!

20:34:27 Alfred Thompson: What about performance? I use a lot of web
applications and most of them seem slow.

20:35:07 Yoah Bar-David: Alfred, it's partially your fault, MSIE is mych sloer
than FireFox

20:35:21 Yoah Bar-David: But MSIE 7 is getting better

20:36:21 Alfred Thompson: I haven't used FireFox recently but didn't see a
performance improvement when I was using it.

20:37:07 Doug Cubell: The big PC guys won't like this. They want to sell faster
machines with bigger drives and aps, no?

20:37:27 Alfred Thompson: The other big concern is that I spend a lot of my time
using the computer where there is no network. Airplanes for example. Other
places the network is expensive.

20:37:28 Yoah Bar-David: Alfred: For complex webapps, there is a noticable

20:36:03 sujamthe: Alfred, performance goes to two things - your ISP of speed of
access which is improving daily. Other is the technolgy behind these Apps, where
AJAX is promising

20:37:13 Richard Seltzer: John -- do you mean you would expect the individual
consumer to pay for the use of apps, on a per use or subscription basis? That's
what I would have expected too. But what I'm seeing here is free use, which is a
bit mind-boggling.

20:37:26 Raju Vegesna: Richard.....the usage of these apps will be free for
individuals. For corporate customers with additional functionality, thereis
going to be a price tag.

20:35:59 Richard Seltzer: Alfred -- I'm not seeing much here about pricing for
the use of apps. If the model (which I seem to be seeing here) is that use of
the apps is free, and the companies will make money renting storage space and
doing special custom setups for companies.

20:43:02 Doug Cubell: if connectivity were ubiquitous (we are not there yet),
ASP models would be even better

20:43:07 Alfred Thompson: Sounds like a return to timesharing in some ways. That
is to say central control of data and applications. There are people at MSFT
more excited about this than I am. :-)

20:45:01 Richard Seltzer: Alfred -- my alphabet-speak is a bit rusty. What MSFT?
(Microsoft Means Fine Tobacco?).

20:46:33 Alfred Thompson: MSFT is the stock ticker code for Microsoft. It takes
less typing than the whole name.

20:49:41 Richard Seltzer: Alfred -- thanks. I remember 10 years ago lots of
discussion about the time to come when the network would become the computer.
This seems to be getting close to that. On the other hand, these apps would make
the browser far more important than it is today.

Storing documents on the Web

20:08:07 Alfred Thompson: Where are the data files kept? On a local PC or on a
server someplace?

20:08:52 Richard Seltzer: Raju -- If I create a document with one of your
Web-based apps, where can I store it? Do I need to have the equjivalent
Microsoft desktop app to store it on my desktop? And do you or others offer
web-based storage for such documents, so I don't need a desktop application?

20:08:26 Raju Vegesna: All the data is kep on our server grid.in our data center.
However, all of this data can be downloaded to your local
machine. By default all the apps come with storage. You can just store all your
documents online.

20:09:21 sujamthe: So I create a web based spreadsheet and it saves on Zoho
servers and I can access it from any computer

20:09:44 Richard Seltzer: If my documents are stored in your data center 1) are
they secure? 2) how much does that cost me? 3) how much storage do I have

20:10:28 Richard Seltzer: Raju, "all" my documents would amount to about 90
gigs. What are your limitations? And what do you charge for storage? And how do
I know that my data is secure?

20:10:40 Raju Vegesna: For individuals, the service is going to be free.
 If you need more storage, you'll have to pay some amount.
The pricing is not yet decided. It'll be reasonable.

20:11:39 Alfred Thompson: Some people might take advantage of the service just
for the off site storage. I can see that being an attraction for some people.

20:12:29 sujamthe: Yoah and Raju: Do you offer a hosted version for the

20:13:03 Raju Vegesna: Yes. We do for some of the products. We plan to do it for
all the Zoho products

20:13:04 Yoah Bar-David: Not yet, but we plan to have one in a few weeks

20:13:34 Richard Seltzer: Yoah and Raju -- I'm slowly getting up to speed
regarding Web-based apps. From a novice perspective storage is an important
issue. I understand that I could use a web-based app, like word processor or
spread sheet from anywhere, but where do I store it?

20:14:01 Yoah Bar-David: Data is stored on our servers.

20:14:03 Raju Vegesna: These are stored online by default. But you can export
them to your desktop.

20:14:35 Yoah Bar-David: I think that in a short while we will see dedicated
online stogate solutions, and then we will store our data on these services

20:15:05 Richard Seltzer: Yoah, "stored by default" doesn't answer me. If I
start to use web-based apps on a regular basis, I'll soon have many many
documents (I use over 90 gigs on my hard drive). There have to be limits and
charges and security is an issue.

20:15:53 Yoah Bar-David: You are right Richard. We start with most people who do
not have such large volume of data

20:16:05 Raju Vegesna: Richard, there will be a price for each Gig...or 10GB.
We are going to release Zoho Drive to address this issue.

20:17:51 sujamthe: Raju: Whats a Zoho Drive, is it like purchasing a dedicated
Drive online for use by my Zoho aps?

20:18:03 Raju Vegesna: Exactly. With Drive, all the data will also be available as a
virtual folder in your local machine. So if you are online, you can map your 'Z Drive' to your
online storage.

20:20:37 Richard Seltzer: Raju -- do you mean that there is no price today for
storage? And what is the pricing model for use of a Web-based app? Do you sell
"subscriptions"? Or do people pay on a per-use basis? Or can a company get
unlimited access for a pre-defined team?

20:21:21 Raju Vegesna: Richard....for individuals it is free with limited
storage (around 200MB). If you need more storage, we charge for it.

20:21:22 sujamthe: Raju: Is this free introductary to build user base?

20:21:49 Raju Vegesna: Sudha: No....this is going to be free for individuals
forever with limited storage.

20:21:54 Richard Seltzer: Alfred -- Mango used to have a very interesting
web-based storage service that was completely compatible with Microsoft -- you
felt like you were on a LAN. But I believe they went under (Don Gaubatz from
Digital used to work for them).

20:22:36 sujamthe: Richard, Mango was ahead of its time

20:22:49 John Lin: instant access everywhere

20:37:34 Alfred Thompson: Where are the data files kept? On a local PC or on a
server someplace?

20:38:37 Richard Seltzer: Alfred -- I'm hearing that the data files are on
servers somewhere. The user need not have much storage, need not have any
software other than a browser. (Raju and Yoah, please correct me if I'm wrong).

20:38:58 Raju Vegesna: Richard....you are correct.

20:39:35 Yoah Bar-David: This is correct

20:46:28 Alfred Thompson: Some people might take advantage of the service just
for the off site storage. I can see that being an attraction for some people.

20:53:39 Yoah Bar-David: You can use XDrive, but it's not free

20:53:45 sujamthe: John: I didn't dare to install it guessing that result :-))

20:53:55 Yoah Bar-David: And there are other players in remote storage

20:54:29 Raju Vegesna: There are many players like OmniDrive etc. There are
atleast 10 other players


20:13:07 sujamthe: John, coming from Adobe, I am curious to hear your thoughts
about these hosted document solutions

20:14:09 John Lin: Well, Adobe has had for quite a while a web-based
subscription service called createpdf.adobe.com for users who do not want to
purchase or install Acrobat on their desktop

Google and Writely and "Webtops"

20:06:50 John Lin: Notice that Google Finance using Flash for their stock

20:08:05 sujamthe: John, I didn't realize it was Flash in Google Finance!

20:52:22 sujamthe: I had heard of an open source App where someone allowed one
to use their Google email with its vast storage as their desktop as a drive on
their computer.

20:52:44 Yoah Bar-David: gdrive, but Google does not allow this

20:15:39 John Lin: I think the acquisition of Writely by Google has accelerated
the interest , or revived the interest that Scott McNealy of Sun would call, the

20:18:56 sujamthe: I think webtops (thanks John) bring one big advantage that
desktops offer - collaboration.

20:20:11 Yoah Bar-David: I was suprized to see how much people do collaborate on

20:16:59 sujamthe: John, honstly I hadn't used Writely till I heard of the Google
aquisition, but web based spreadsheets seem cool and I found irows offers
integration into Writely.

20:17:27 Yoah Bar-David: We do offer integration with Writely but it more of a

20:18:21 John Lin: I had heard of Writely prior to the Google acquisition
because they had a create PDF option from a Writely doc to PDF from what I recall

20:53:04 Yoah Bar-David: The rumor is that Google will soon have a remote storage

20:53:08 John Lin: Sudha - yeah, google kills accounts if they see people using
Gmail for online storage

Wireless and "streaming" data

20:14:05 sujamthe: Doug - you mentioned you do bizdev in wireless area. Do you
see the benefit of this with wireless devices or is the desktop here to stay?

20:15:54 Doug Cubell: When I was selling crypto into the DRM space (John
remembers!), there was a vision of a "jukebox in the sky". In other words, you
didn't store music, you streamed it from whatever device you had. Seems the same
model works for applications, no?

20:16:44 Doug Cubell: streaming means that you always have your data, even on
slim devices

20:39:43 sujamthe: Alfred, to your point about using your PC in places where
there is no network - it will all change as we get wireless access everywhere at
affordable prices. But from what both irows and zoho offers, you can use Word or
Excel on your desktop and upload upload it to irows or zoho once you get network access.

20:40:45 sujamthe: Alfred, there will a phase of transition where people will
use both desktop and web based apps and will switch to the latter.


20:18:53 Richard Seltzer: Alfred,  is Microsoft playing in this space yet?

20:20:10 Alfred Thompson: Not in the web version of applications. At this time
anyway. I don't know about the future. There are several ways of getting and
using network file storage though.

20:37:34 sujamthe: Folks, MS embracing the hosted software model with web based
apps http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/03/21/business/gates.php

Collaboration and Social Computing

20:20:42 sujamthe: Alfred, you mentioned interest in social computing. Does
online collaboraton count in it?

20:20:49 Alfred Thompson: I am Alfred Thompson with Microsoft and a long time
observer of social computing. Groove will be very much in use with the next version
of Office for example. Yes I have watched a lot of talk about online
collaboration over the years.

20:21:34 Alfred Thompson: Things like Live Meeting for example and now Groove.

20:22:36 John Lin: Sudha - so when you mean collaboration - realtime vs.
asychronous? For asychronous (as I can imagine it is difficult to do real-time
editing with 2+more people), we know the desktop model works (mail). I think the
webtop is more about instant access

20:23:42 sujamthe: John: Agreed, technically real-time editing with 2+ people is
difficult, but

20:24:58 sujamthe: I am thinking of a scenario from work - a team of people work
on a proposal in Word. One master doc is copied and edited and theres a work
flow for others to edit or accept changes. Its a slow process.

20:25:49 Doug Cubell: negotiating contracts is also challenging colloboration

20:26:29 sujamthe: I remember when I used to work in BBN/GTE in 98. We worked on
a proposal for a client and different people worked on different components of
it all in Word and someone co-ordinated and put it together and legal had to
review it and we were chasing ...

20:27:01 Doug Cubell: yes, its a real hassle

20:27:02 sujamthe: we were chasing overnight deadlines with fast paces web
customers who wanted the solution now, let alone a proposal.

20:27:55 sujamthe: In this web based app model, we could collaborate and work
from anywhere. The software App has to come a long way to support work-flows

20:28:17 Doug Cubell: imagine how functional kiosks could be if people used
web-based aps and storage?

20:28:32 sujamthe: Yoah, Raju: Does your collaboration tools support work flows
for the enterprise , I mean allows rules for colloboration?

20:28:36 Raju Vegesna: Sudha...these webapps doesnt have everything a desktop
apps have. They have 'Enough' that 80% of the market needs.

20:28:53 Raju Vegesna: Yes, our collaboration product supports these.

20:29:25 sujamthe: Doug, people could hop out of planes and get their docs from
an airplane kiosks! Oh, we'll never stop working

20:29:57 Doug Cubell: I don't mind people working as long as they don't talk on
the phone! ;-)

20:31:04 Richard Seltzer: Doug -- exactly. Not just kiosks, but the ability to
buy a computer for dirt cheap. The hardware is very inexpensive these days, the
operating system and the Office applications cost more than the hardware. If I
can use web-based apps for everything I don't need a full-blown computer.

20:39:34 Richard Seltzer: Raju and Yoah -- what about collaboration? what can
you do with web-based apps that you can't do on the desktop? or what can you do
much better web-based?

20:40:18 Richard Seltzer: Raju and Yoah -- what can you do with web-based apps
that you can't do on a desktop or can't do very well there? what new modes of
working and new business models could be built on these apps?

20:40:20 Yoah Bar-David: Richard: A few people can work on the same document,
you can send links to docs intead copies

20:40:29 Raju Vegesna: Richard, you can create documents, share these with your
frieds and work together on the same document without maintaining multiple
copies of the same document going around.

20:41:11 Yoah Bar-David: You can publish data on other sites, and when you
update the data, all sites that display this data get refreshed automatically

20:41:51 Raju Vegesna: Richard....availability of the data from any
location/machine/browser is the key differentiator for web-based apps.

20:42:20 Richard Seltzer: Yoah -- when you send a link to a document, how does
the security work? Is the document open to all to see or is it open only to a
predefined set of team members? And do the fancy Microsoft Word markups go into
play? Can you see the different versions and markup in color?

20:43:22 Yoah Bar-David: Richard: You are in charge, You can sent it with
temporary permissions, you can define users and groups and set permissions

20:41:59 sujamthe: Yoah, Richard and I were talking about what speadsheets we
can do online. Can you give examples of usage of your App whats same as Excel,
what new spreadsheet are people using because its online?

20:42:47 sujamthe: Raju, you may answer that one too. Basically I am curious to
see how usage and user horizons have expanded because of these online apps.

20:53:04 Raju Vegesna: Richard....to give you some pricing, our collaborative
app, Zoho Virtual office is priced @ $9/User/Month

20:55:12 Richard Seltzer: Raju -- What do you get for $9/user/month?

20:55:55 Raju Vegesna: 1GB with Email, Document creation, Task management,
calendaring, notes, favorites, group discussions, instant messaging etc

20:57:22 Raju Vegesna: If you need Word Processor, add $5 to it. If you need
Spreadsheet, add another $ or $5 to it (based on different options like number
of users etc).

21:00:56 Richard Seltzer: Raju -- the pricing is still confusing. $5 for this
and $5 for that. I only pay $29 a month for my Web site (with 1500 documents and
20 gigs of traffic. Your pricing sounds high, or simply confusing. I'd like a
simple flat rate for all I can eat.

21:02:02 sujamthe: Richard, Raju's pricing is ala carte, its actualy cheaper
based on what you compare it with

Security, Reliability, and Standards Issues

20:30:12 Doug Cubell: are there any security concerns/issue with web-based aps?

20:30:33 Yoah Bar-David: Everything has security concerns ;-) You need to trust the place
you put your data in, and the network

20:30:56 Raju Vegesna: These are taken care by our dedicated IT Proffs

20:30:59 Alfred Thompson: The down side of web applications is that they depend
on the network always being there. Users are pretty much dead in the water if
the network goes down.

20:31:21 sujamthe: With MS Word, or PDF its a question of standards.

20:31:25 John Lin: Any concerns by corporate customers about what happens to
their data if you go under? (i.e. files stored on your servers)

20:32:39 sujamthe: John: I think irows mentions a corporate version of their
solution to be setup inside an enterprise.

20:31:58 Yoah Bar-David: Corporate customers today want to host their own
servers of webapps

20:32:23 Raju Vegesna: John, for corporate customers we offer these apps as

20:32:34 Yoah Bar-David: Exactly, no incompatability issues

20:31:47 sujamthe: Will these Web -based Apps be compatible with other such apps
or will be it a standards game?

20:32:30 Doug Cubell: we will all be VERY dependent on our ISPs

20:33:09 Yoah Bar-David: Doug: just like we do for electricty or phone

20:33:38 sujamthe: I think existing big software players are moving to this
model too. John mentioned what Adobe does. Oracle has a new oracle-on-demand
Hosted ASP version of Oracle, no need to add patches, maintenence etc. I like it

20:35:09 John Lin: I see - i was thinking of the ASP model for the individual
consumer. How about a salesforce.com model?

20:36:05 Doug Cubell: John, how do you mean?

20:37:11 John Lin: Doug - well, instead of hosting software internally within a
corporate firewall like what irows is talking about.

20:37:42 Richard Seltzer: John what is the salesforce.com model?

20:37:48 John Lin: I think Salesforce.com is completely hosted - no internal
hosting within corporate firewall, so completely subscription model driven

20:38:30 Yoah Bar-David: You are right, John, and they are successful at this

20:38:50 John Lin: I know Salesforce.com has had challenges recently with

20:58:47 John Lin: If everything is encrypted by the user with his "private
key", then handing over the data shouldn't be a problem...?

20:58:26 sujamthe: Raju, can you share your experience selling this hosted ASP
model in the enterprise.

20:59:28 Raju Vegesna: Sudha.....These corporations prefer installing these
apps internally. It makes sence for them as there is IT Staff to do it.

20:59:38 sujamthe: Richard, what is Heidi's company, the hosted community
software? I remember how hard it was to sell inside Harcourt  just because it was hosted.

Richard Seltzer: You probably mean Sitescape. They sell and host collaboration
software, highly structured forums.

21:00:53 Yoah Bar-David: Companies do not like hosted solutions today, they
prefer to do the hosting both for security and availability reasons.

21:02:41 Raju Vegesna: I dont think a hosted solution will fit all. An
application has to be available both as a product and as a service. People
should pick whichever fits them.

Direction of software development

20:43:59 Richard Seltzer: Yoah and Raju -- Are there new apps available or new
apps in the works that take full advantage of the collaborative capabilities of
Web-apps? This feels like a revolutionary change (to "the network is the
computer", as someone here said earlier).

20:44:55 Yoah Bar-David: There are many collaborative web apps, from shared
calendars, to-do lists, documents, and more

20:45:33 Raju Vegesna: Richard...Zoho Virtual office is done for this along
those lines.

20:44:23 sujamthe: I appreciate all the efforts gone into these apps and whats
avaible today, but I see them in an early stage of change, similar to Web
Apps (desktop based Web Apps) as they evolved from automating html writing to
dynamic html pages to content management and document management systems and
later into App servers etc.

20:46:22 Richard Seltzer: Yoah -- I'm a pie-in the sky idealist. I'd be
expecting something radically different --a new class of apps, just as
spreadsheets were a new class of apps, a "killer app" for PC use, a long long
time ago. what's the killer app for "the network is the com

20:46:29 sujamthe: ok folks, I am speculating here, but I think today we see them
all as web-based apps, web-based spreadsheets and doc writers. They are going to
evolve into a new set of systems as users adopt.

20:47:53 Yoah Bar-David: I agree Su, This is just the beginning

20:48:12 Raju Vegesna: Richard...thereis no one killer app today. All these apps
are going to evolve to become Office 2.0

20:48:37 sujamthe: One piece I am curious is to see if there are developers
interface to any of these? What do you think about it? I mean offering an API to
allow developers to build more Apps linked to one of these instead of saying
users will have to pay one company for all their needs

20:49:26 Yoah Bar-David: There are and will be more APIs, but I think that in
the future there will be just a few very big players

20:49:55 sujamthe: Excel is established because of all the apps that are built
upon it by people inside companies, like that these apps will have to evolve for
different verticals

20:49:59 Raju Vegesna: Sudha...We started offering these APIs. People took this
and integrated our Zho Writer with Google Home page for example.

20:50:42 Richard Seltzer: Su -- yes, I'd expect there to be some kind of plug-in
model, a way that third-party developers could add value to these web-based app

20:50:48 sujamthe: Raju, thats cool. Do you have a URL for us to see it? Maybe
you can email us later or post to the blog.

20:51:11 Raju Vegesna: Sudha....I'll email it

20:53:12 sujamthe: I say this as an example in my belief that there are smart
innovators everywhere who will add stuff even if you don't allow it officially.

20:54:25 Richard Seltzer: From my non-technical perspective, I'm seeing several
different kinds of opportunities -- super browsers that help you do it all (and
in some way control how you do it -- an opportunity for Micrsoft to stay in
charge); third-party software development ...

Targeted advertising as possible source of revenue and related privacy issues

20:55:15 Yoah Bar-David: Yes Richard, and thing about the targetted Ads one can
send you if they "read" all your docs

20:56:18 John Lin: Yes, there have been a lot of blog commentary about the
government getting their hands on your data

20:56:22 Richard Seltzer: Yoah -- did I miss something in all the type running
by my eyes -- targetted ads? Who is the "they" would be be "reading" my docs?

20:56:37 John Lin: (around the discussion of Google and the U.S. government
looking at search data)

20:57:35 Richard Seltzer: John -- yes, that is a serious issue. I consider that
an essential part of "security". I need to know that no one can read my
documents unless I give them permission (or unless they get the same kind of
subpoena as they'd need to read what's on my hard drive.

20:56:46 sujamthe: There were a whole lot of remote storage companies a few years back
too. Isn't Yahoo briefcase one some hybrid solution of remote storage of your

20:56:54 Yoah Bar-David: The Googles and Microsofts. Their model will be that
you get it all for free, just see banners

20:57:35 sujamthe: I am not sure targetd ads would be the only model to evolve for all
these web apps.

20:57:54 Alfred Thompson: Google picks ads to show gmail users in part based on
what is in their email

20:58:18 Yoah Bar-David: It made targetting better

20:59:02 Richard Seltzer: Alfred -- yes, I tried gmail for a couple days, and
then dropped it becasue of the ads.

20:59:07 Alfred Thompson: I pay for an account on Hotmail so that I am freed
from a lot of ads. I think that some will do that and some will say "I can
ignore the ads" but people will want a choice.


20:44:03 Doug Cubell: Folks, I have to run. I'd love to read the rest of this
thread later. Thanks!!!

21:00:04 John Lin: Got to run!

21:00:42 sujamthe: Bye John, thanks for coming

21:01:26 Richard Seltzer: All, we've reached the end of the hours. Thanks to all
for joining us. I'll save the "history" and edit the transcript and
post it within the next couple days.

21:01:52 Yoah Bar-David: Thank's everyone, it has been a pleasure

21:02:11 Richard Seltzer: We've said a lot in a very short time. I look forward
to going over it all, and catching much that I missed in the rush of things.

21:02:35 sujamthe: Thanks Yoah and Raju, we appreciate your time and comments.
Bye everyone.

21:02:56 Richard Seltzer: Actually, it might make sense to post the transcript
as a web-based app that the participants to comment on and add to.
Could we do that?  A document that we could "link to" with permission
given to the folks who were participants here?

21:03:55 Raju Vegesna: Yes.....you can share it as a document in Zoho Writer

21:04:15 sujamthe: Richard, we shd try that

21:05:01 Raju Vegesna: Sure....I'll be glad to do it.

21:04:41 Richard Seltzer: Raju -- thanks. Once I have an edited transcript, I'll
ask you how we can do it. The process would be a learning experience.

21:04:31 Raju Vegesna: We plan to automate this with Zoho Chat - which u guys
can use BTW,

21:05:04 Richard Seltzer: Raju -- Zoho Chat sounds interesting. I'd like to
learn more. Thanks.

21:05:15 Raju Vegesna: just visit the URL. It is going to be released soon...but just
sign up and play with it. www.zohochat.com

21:05:31 Richard Seltzer: Will do. Thanks again.

21:06:06 sujamthe: Raju, next session April 5th, we have the blogchat founder
joining us. I'd like to see if I can try zohochat before that.

Followup comments:

(Send your comments to seltzer@samizdat.com for posting here)

Richard Seltzer to Alfred Thompson:
This whole business of "the network is the computer" is very
interesting. I feel like after I stopped the chats three years ago, I
got out of touch with what was happening.  And I certainly was closer to
the latest developments back in 1994 to 1998 when I was playing Internet
Evangelist at Digital/Compaq.  But the theme is familiar.  And if the
little companies involved in web-apps were to get together, or make it
easy for others to build apps on their platforms, and were to take care
of the secure storage issues, that might add up to a serious challenge
to Microsoft.

1) in that environment, the browser becomes the doorway to everything;
and Microsoft could do very interesting things with IE, that would make
certain modes of working very easy and others very awkward.
2) Microsoft is in the best position to deal with the secure storage
issue, in a way to seamlessly integrates with Microsoft's desktops.  (I
wonder what happened to Mangosoft's old technology.  That might be a
great base for Microsoft to build on. Don Gaubatz would probably know.
In the old days he was VP of Workstation Development at Digital.

Alfred Thompson to Richard Seltzer
The idea of network storage (sometimes called in the cloud) is one that
comes up on a regular basis. It's got it's technical and business
challenges. The problems involve scaling for large numbers of users in
very geographically dispersed areas. I'm not sure anyone is in a great
position to handle it.

Google has been buying up a lot of dark fiber and there are rumors that
they are building a lot of remote data centers. Connecting the dots
suggests that they might be in a good position at some point. And of
course there are all about the network being the system. The key will be
the financial model. That is the question you were asking during the chat

Microsoft has to be pretty careful about locking other people out. Bill
Gates has been making a big thing that development of IE is not going to
stagnate again. AJAX is largely Microsoft technology as it is. Few are
willing to admit it but DHTML and JavaScript really became what they are
today because of Microsoft developmetns. A lot of work is being done with
.NET and new Windows Vista technologies to make doing things on the web
easier. And of course MSN which is all about the web has been adding
features like crazy recently. I think we'll see more of that.

Disclaimer -- My comments are not official in anyway of course. These are just my opinions
and I am not involved in MSN, IE or networking products at Microsoft. In
fact we are not even using my work account for this conversation. I know you
understand that but I just wanted to spell it out.

Richard Seltzer to Alfred Thompson
Interesting. The final result will probably be a goulash, with different users choosing
different combinations of local and remote resources..

One other probable winner -- compact, portable storage like flash.  You
might pay for secure shareable storage on the Web, but also want to carry
all your important documents with you in your pocket.  And, interestingly,
flash memory can work with computing appliances, as well as PCs (Braille
Note uses it).

This site is Published by Samizdat Express, 213 Deerfield Lane, Orange, CT 06477. (203) 553-9925. seltzer@samizdat.com

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