SmoothSpan Blog

For Executives, Entrepreneurs, and other Digerati who need to know about SaaS and Web 2.0.

Adobe Apollo and Google Gears: SaaS/Web 2.0 Edge Onto the Desktop

Posted by Bob Warfield on May 31, 2007

Years ago Jim Barksdale and the Netscape denizens declared war on Microsoft, saying that the browser was all anyone would ever need and bloated desktop applications would be a thing of the past.  Larry Ellison jumped on the bandwagon not long after with his network computer concepts, and for Sun, the network is the the computer.

It’s been quite some time in the making, and the original combatants have been replaced on the Internet side by a new bunch, but it’s looking like some of this may yet come to pass.  Google announced Gears at their developer conference, and Adobe’s Flex-based Apollo has been out for a little while now.  What these initiatives are looking to do is bring Rich Internet Application to disconnected desktops–clearly the suite spot (pardon my pun) for Microsoft and the other desktop vendors. 

Meanwhile Microsoft is pushing hard for their .NET equivalent, Silverlight.

SaaS and Web 2.0 vendors should be thinking about what all of this means to them.  For example, has been demonstrating disconnected functionality around Flex/Apollo.  This is useful functionality for their installed base.  It’s also interesting to ponder the third leg of the tripod.  After Internet connected and disconnected desktop functionality we have wireless devices (aka phones).  My friends over at SoonR have a solution they call Mobile Ajax that’s really cool.  Song Huang, SoonR VP of Marketing, was over at my house with a pocketful of phones and proceeded to show me a PowerPoint presentation on one of the phones that had almost no local intelligence.  He got my attention with that!

The sales people and users I know are all total phone addicts.  I can just imagine them wanting to check on or update the status on their pipeline from their phone using this kind of capability.

How far will all of this go?  Check out a calendaring demo done in Flex over on the Quietly Scheming blog.  That type of UI is so far ahead of Outlook today (and especially Outlook on the web) that its hard to see why it won’t be extremely attractive.

The fun is just getting started!

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