Defining everyday terms and sorting the difference between terms like S+S and SaaS, really is a battle of religions. But – however – Software+Services is a strategy that now iimplies to run every application through a browser (a rather dull experience in my mind), by embrace the marvel of using applications as an experience over many devices.
I would like to give a real example on why I am so found of the S+S business model. Just released (if you fell the bits and bytes – you would tell that they are still hot ;)), download the Wikipedia Explorer. Based on an Azure services, with and Windows Presentation Foundation client (WPF) – an really fun and exciting experience burst, when browsing through the libraries of Wikipedia. Go try for yourself – and realize the full potential of S+S.
iCloud today launched a new online “OS”. Try it yourself at http://os.icloud.com/.
This OS is more than a move towards SaaS/PaaS. It is a huge step towards an online era of “SaaS through the browser”-applications, and the statement is then clear! You will have access to your applications, data and everything from a browser all over the world. Instant access to data with a snip of our finger.
But evaluating the online OS, seems to me that we just see history repeating. Unfortunately it seems like we did not learn anything, we only marvel by the change in technology, and again we stand aside and do not listen to the users of the online systems and software, we do so often invest heavily in development. The online OS is 1:1 a copy from Ubuntu or Windows XP/Vista. We still operate with windows, control panel and a recycle bin. The OS is still operated as a desktop, and focused only towards a fixed desktop/laptop type computer. Where is the device in-dependant platform in that? Mobility and small devices are to be the next wave of usage and operating devices for these applications, but iCloud lack this understanding and usage.
But we must also see the innovation in a online OS. All though we again forget the business model around it (syndication, ownership of data, re usage of code and existing application infrastructure), we see a very, very good example of how a future OS could be segmented and released. I still believe in a S+S world, where offline applications and smart clients on the device connects through services and service gateways is the future usage scenario for many companies. But I wish iCloud hello, and one thing is for sure: Windows update is dead, updates to an OS happens instantly and you will get a true experience of having it!