News this morning that 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
:

“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.