Software-as-a-service has been commodity for a long period. Microsoft among other vendors is now forming relations and strategies on how applications will act and perform in the near future. For a long period Microsoft has been pushing ISV developers to develop and implement their applications as SmartClient applications. SmartClient applications are actually just small content-frame-holder (as known from the web world), with different services connected to it.
The enablement of this “mashup” is a great and very new approach to an application. A big change to the business model of this is the actual change in the price of an application. Many developers and ISVs have been purchasing components and resource libraries to “bundle” and use in their applications. These components are sold though redistribution agreements and customer license for usage – and not the source code.
In the future world, this will exactly be the same model, just with services connected to the application. Billing and support will change rapidly offering per-usage billing, not the complete price. So in the future you can actually earn money – when you don’t format you documents in Word 😉
Another good example is the connected and business benefits of the model. Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 within a hosted model, several add-ons exists in the “could”. Among these, that Business Card reader webservice, which converts your image-business cards into readable contact information – directly imported to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 in the cloud. As you probably only want oné invoice, only need one support line, several considerations form around the model. But the general idea is now a reality.
Microsoft has released the Buffy Finder concept as an example, and launched Microsoft CSF Sandbox – a new version of the UDDI registry.
Update – 24.04.2008!
Microsoft Clearflow is another really good example on joining Microsoft Virtual Earth, Microsofts new traffic service and mobiltiy into one complete solution!