Observer article on MS’s “Web Services”

John Naughton over at the Observer has written his his less than impressed take on Windows Live and Office Live.

The core of his thoughts is expressed in these paragraphs:

On the other hand, Gates and co are smart folks who know in their bones that web services represent the future. But they’re stuck, because if Microsoft were to become a major provider of such services (which it is technically quite capable of doing), it would be tantamount to cannibalising its core business – the lucrative Windows and Office franchises. After all, to access web services, all you need is a browser – and it doesn’t have to be Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer. Nor does your computer have to run Windows. Firefox running on Linux or Safari running on a Mac are just as good for web mail or search as Explorer running on Windows.

So Microsoft has a problem. It can’t go all-out for web services – which explains the pathetic fudge announced on Tuesday. The new ‘live’ sites will only offer supplements and complements to Microsoft software running on your computer.

My only quibble with that is that he forgets the fact that they could possibly, with ActiveX, at least make it necessary to run IE, although Linux users on Intel systems may be able to get away with running IE under Wine to access these services.