IBM, Acrobat offer response to Google Apps and Office

Symphony offers a great deal of collaborative features for business users

Adobe's Treitman says that all productivity applications will eventually migrate to the Web, and he wants to become the best Web-based productivity suite on the market.

"We are going to make the coolest apps we can make and attract as many people as we possibly can. We will compete on quality of the user experience, quality of our ability to make our products ubiquitous and available from anyplace. Our next step is to go on- and offline but be fully synchronized."

Where Treitman may be off base is in the assertion that the best or the coolest wins, according to Murphy.

"The best product historically doesn't win," says Murphy; all one needs to do is take a look at the current winners to see that. What wins, he says, is the having the best go-to-market strategy and distribution.

While Murphy doesn't see or IBM Symphony displacing Google Apps, he does say that the cycle of software dominance is shortening.

"There is the possibility that Google can be unseated," he says. But it won't happen quickly or easily in the enterprise.

While Microsoft may be vulnerable, Adobe is really coming at productivity applications from a content management space, adding word processing and collaboration because it wants to remain the high-end publishing solution. But, says Murphy, it will be difficult to uproot Microsoft in the enterprise.

"A lot of applications depend on Microsoft capabilities. There are macros embedded in there that IT may not fully understand the impact on the business if they change to a new set of applications."

Applications like those offered with or with IBM Symphony or the dozens of other cloud solutions, particularly ZoHo which appears to be gaining a great deal of momentum, all will create a certain loyalty around them. But it will be hard, says Murphy, at least in the immediate future to match the current momentum around Google.

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Ephraim Schwartz

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