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Online or Off - The Battle oif the Office Software Giants

Adobe just announced their purchase of Virtual Ubiquity, the maker of the online word processing software Buzzware.  The purchase was made in a competitive environment that is dominated by Microsoft Word with every other player such as WordPerfect and Google Doc trailing far behind.

Buzzware marries online word processing with group collaberation tools.  It makes editing one document easier between groups.  While I like the concept, I'm reluctant to call it a success.  From a marketing standpoint it is near impossible to unseat the market leader Microsoft Word.  With a highly satisfied user based and cross platform compatibility with other Microsoft products, replacing the leader is near impossible and will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.  With no second place brand, there is an opening in the market for a number 2 player, either online or offline - the marketing opportunity.

If I was advertising Buzzware or Google Docs, I'd establish it as the number 1 alternative to the market leader with all the features of Microsoft Word plus the features of Adobe.   This of course will not happen since most brands believe that they should not be comparative (wrong) and most developers believe that they can win markets on their good looks alone (wrong again - can anyone say Zune).

You can read more about this at a great post by Keith Miller on the Mimeo.com website.  The post calls out one of the key advantages of Buzzware; the ability to print a document accurately off of the internet.  For those that have tried to print anything online, it is a challenge with frequent text problems and pictures that just disappear.  Not a bad feature, but I'm not sure it defeats Microsoft Word which makes printing as easy as pushing a button.

You can click here to try out Buzzware .  This battle of the titans is going to be fun.  In first place by a mile, Microsoft.  Second Place goes to ?.

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