March 13, 2006
categories: press, narcissism
Flake said Microsoft had a radical goal: to erase nearly all distinctions between the Internet and computing. "No one today thinks about how power gets through the lines to your home," he said. "But today we are very aware of the boundaries between our desktop computer and the Internet. We will see that boundary become invisible."—The Los Angeles Times
The whole "software as a service" meme sometimes has the misfortune of carrying a connotation of conflict between purveyors of desktop software and web applications. I think this characterization obscures more important elements of how the industry is evolving.
More specifically, here's the end state that we want: wherever you are, on whatever device you are using, you can get to your stuff. You don't have to think about where your stuff is. It's just there. It's safe, secure, and accessible. You don't have to initiate a connection, there is nothing to download, nor do you have to keep track of what is where.
This is the scenario that I was trying to capture in the quote above. In this world, one of two things must be true: (1) either the master copy of your data is in the "cloud" and the local copy is a cached version, or (2) the master copy is on the device and the backup is in the "cloud".
The point is that the user shouldn't have to think about these distinctions. That's the real promise of "software as a service".