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Let me try to define (my version of) Office 2.0.

Office 2.0 should offer an a la carte of collaborative applications as products/services from which users/businesses can choose from.

Key points to note in Office 2.0 are…

1. The users should be able to choose from a la carte of applications
2. The offerings should be available both as a product and as a service
3. All of these products/services should have collaboration features built-in

Let me explain each of these points….

1. a la carte of applications:
How many of us use all the components of MS Office for example that comes with just one price tag? In my case, I just use Word and a PPT. The rest like Excel etc are of no use. Even Outlook is of no use for me as I use Zoho Virtual Office. But we end up paying for the whole package which in my view is not right. For those who use all apps in office suit, probably it is worth the price tag. But for the rest of us, it is wasting money. Instead, I would prefer purchasing some other application I use – may be a Wiki.

In the next generation of Office applications, the vendor should provide a list of applications to choose from. The office suit should have apps like Word Processor, Spreadsheet, presentations viewer/builders, Messaging and Groupware, Wiki, RSS Readers, IM, CRM, Calling, Blogs etc. The list goes on. The end user should be able to select which apps he’ll need and just pay for those. This should be the model for Office 2.0 apps.

2. Product + Service Offerings:
It is not Product or Service. It should be Product and Service. Both product and service have their own advantages and disadvantages. The choice should be given to the end user to choose from either a product or a service. Ideally, it should be a product combined with a service will can offer powerful benefits.

3. Collaboration features Built-in:
Collaborative features are going to play a crucial role in the next generation office applications. This is very important that collaborative features are built into each and every application that is offered.

Office applications are no longer restricted to the ones that are defined by leading vendors in the market. Its time to redefine this.

Ismael Ghalimi has some very good posts on Office 2.0. I completely agree with him on the rules for Office 2.0.

Raju