"It's less about spreadsheets and word processing," and definitely not just about sticking it to Microsoft by using online productivity applications, Esther says. "And anyway," she adds, "the biggest anti-Microsoft force is inside Microsoft: Ray Ozzie."
Esther sees the benefit of online working in what IBM calls, "activity management," using networked technologies to coordinate schedules and tasks and to synchronize your work with your colleagues.
Online applications also level the playing field--the little guys are greatly aided by tools that let them collaborate more easily with each other and with customers. Larger companies, Esther says, have more social and political overhead (not as much trust among employees, or company to company) and are less able to take advantage of these new tools.
Despite the clear advantages of online applications, there are some open issues, primarily the reliability of all the little companies that are now angling for our business. Do we trust these new companies to keep our data safe and secure? That's a really important question, and I'll be looking at the new products shown here with this in mind.
Is Esther living the Office 2.0 dream? "I'm probably Office 0.8," she says. There's not enough reliable connectivity in her life for her to rely on online applications. But there is potential: "If Office 2.0 is going to be successful, it's going to be about the ease of collaboration. And that's not just about collaborative editing; it's about managing tasks."
I previously wrote a column for Esther's newsletter, Release 1.0.