Everything online? Not likely!

Post ImageIn a recent post, popular PR blogger Steve Rubel says:

It’s not to hard to picture a world without Microsoft one day if you believe these guys. ePlatform, now in beta, promises to deliver over the Internet virtually every application you need to effectively manage your life, all available on demand.

Sounds like a great concept, but it’ll never, ever fly. Why not? Let’s list the main reasons:

  • I very much doubt the majority of consumers would be willing to give control of their personal data to a third party. We’ve seen this time, and time again. Remember Hailstorm anyone?
  • Video games continue to grow, and you just can’t power Doom3 or Halo2 over the net. Even if we did get fast Internet access absolutely everywhere, there will always be an argument for rich clients. Games are just one example, video creation is another. It’s not feasible to edit your 20 GB of video using a program hosted on a server thousands of miles away.
  • How about taking content offline? That’s one of the main reasons I used NewsGator as my aggregator – I can take all the blogs I read offline on my tablet. As much as I want wireless everywhere, so that I’m always connected, we’re a long way from that goal.

There are lots of reasons both for and against so-called “thin clients”, but I think that the “rich client” world pitched by Microsoft is more likely to succeed, for the reasons I’ve noted above as well as many others. I’d guess that the closest we’d ever get to a thin client world would be if everyone had their own central server in their house or office. Actually, I guess that’s already happening with tools like the Xbox and Media Center PC. But a third party acting as the central repository and processing house?

Not likely.

As an aside, I think it’s interesting to note that the ePlatform application looks a LOT like Outlook 2003 and Outlook Web Access.

Read: Steve Rubel