JotSpot, a favorite Web Office contender of mine, has been acquired by Google. I've spoken to co-founder and CEO Joe Kraus several times over the past year or so and have found him to be one of the most eloquent people on the topic of Web Office. Here's what he wrote this morning on the Google blog:News this morning that
"As we built the business over the past three years Google consistently attracted our attention. We watched them acquire Writely, and launch Google Groups, Google Spreadsheets and Google Apps for Your Domain. It was pretty apparent that Google shared our vision for how groups of people can create, manage and share information online. Then when we had conversations with people at Google we found ourselves completing each other's sentences. Joining Google allows us to plug into the resources that only a company of Google's scale can offer, like a huge audience, access to world-class data centers and a team of incredibly smart people."
See also the post on JotSpot's blog. To me, JotSpot is a company that 'gets' the Web Office, as evidenced by my interviews with Joe. In terms of their product, what started out as a wiki company slowly but surely was morphing into a Web Office suite contender this year. Back in July, JotSpot released its 2.0 version. It was described by Joe Kraus at that point as "wikis meets Microsoft Office". The upgrade enabled JotSpot users to collaborate on different types of "office-like" products. Its spreadsheet product, Tracker, was integrated into their core wiki product - along with calendars, File Cabinets, Photo Pages. In the October release of JotSpot, more apps were added to their application gallery: group directory, forum and To Do Lists.
Joe told me in October that although JotSpot still positioned itself as a wiki nowadays - they didn't necessarily see themselves in that space in 5-10 years. The reason JotSpot was positioning itself as something different than a straight Web Office Suite (with word processing, spreadsheets, etc) is that Joe believes Microsoft itself will eventually position itself in that market. So with the wiki/office hybrid vision, JotSpot was approaching the space from a different angle. JotSpot's strategy was to "embrace and extend the space" (more on that in an earlier interview I did with Joe). Of course that all will change now that JotSpot has the resources and reach of Google behind them!
But what won't change is that JotSpot will be a 'web native' application, not just an online replica of Microsoft Office. Google has certainly shown it gets this, with its Writely acquisition and most recently the conversion into Google Docs & Spreadsheets (which is a starter towards a fuller suite). Now with JotSpot on board, Google has, I believe, a formidable armory of Web Office tools.