AjaxWrite, an online Ajax version of Word, is the newest entrant into the online office space. It opens and saves documents in Word format (you can also save in PDF), has good basic functionality and is fairly fast. I agree with Michael Robertson, the man behind AjaxWrite, that this and other Ajax Word products like Writely and Zoho Writer significanly reduce the need for most of the world’s population to buy Microsoft Word.
AjaxWrite is bare bones by design and fast. If you need to read and/or edit a Word doc quickly, this is a workable solution and I assume it will get better and faster over time. AjaxWrite currently is Firefox only.
Michael also tells us to look out for new weekly Ajax applications at his new site, AjaxLaunch. AjaxWrite is the first. I’m looking forward to the next.
Will things like AjaxWrite have an impact on Microsoft’s Office revenues over time? Yeah, it must. Even so, Bill Gates says that he just doesn’t understand our infatuation with thin client versions of Word. That may be true, but at some point I expect Microsoft to come out with ad supported versions of their own clients…they’ll just wait, of course, until they have to. And Google has pushed the envelope with its recent acquisition of Writely.
More on GigaOm. Om asks about the business model…If people start using this as an alternative to Word, money can easily be made on advertising around the site, with a premium paid version. It won’t be a huge money maker, but hey, that’s the point – to drastically reduce the cost of using Office for the average user.