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[Fwd: Desktop Software Via the Web]

From: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 15:30:31 -0400
Message-ID: <37E68B57.F4B10C57@clark.net>
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

>  1999 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 

> September 20, 1999 
> Several Plans Are Afoot to Create
> Desktop Software Via the Web
> Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
> The race is on to create a desktop on the Web.
> Desktop.com, a secretive San Francisco start-up with big-name backers,
> Monday will launch an ambitious Internet service that offers consumers a
> complete graphical software environment, a Web equivalent to the desktop
> scheme presented by Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system.
> The free service will let users customize their desktops with a range of
> Web-based programs, including word processing and games, and link up with
> other Web services, news feeds and e-mail services. The programs and
> consumer data are stored on Desktop.com's computers; all consumers need is
> an Internet connection and a current Web browser.
> Sun Plans an Un-PC Desktop That Never Needs an Upgrade (Sept. 8)
> Others are moving in similar directions. Another new entry, MyWebOS.com
> Inc. says it has developed a kind of operating system for making programs
> that run on Web sites and operate much like conventional personal-computer
> programs.
> The new ventures are part of a broader movement that is turning software
> from a product to a service, forcing changes on Microsoft and other
> computer-industry kingpins. Where some companies have already begun
> renting software, the latest entries are going a big step further: They
> have developed technical ground rules to let other companies write
> Web-based software, creating a development platform along the lines of
> Microsoft's Windows.
> "This could redefine the browser experience, extending its capacity by
> making it easier and more powerful at the same time," says Mitch Kapor, a
> Desktop.com investor known for founding Lotus Development Corp. "That's a
> very significant idea."
> Desktop.com's founders, part of an early wave of young Internet
> millionaires, previously created a free Web-based e-mail service called
> RocketMail and sold their company to Yahoo! Inc. in 1997 for $89 million.
> Their new venture received a hefty $29 million in initial venture-capital
> funding from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Sequoia Capital and Accel
> Partners, where Mr. Kapor is now a partner. Desktop.com has grown to 38
> employees without giving much detail about what it was doing.
> "We didn't want to reveal very much because we wanted to have first-mover
> advantage," said Katie Burke, Desktop.com's 29-year-old chief executive.
> Desktop.com hopes to make money by selling advertising and placing icons
> from other Web sites on its desktop and in application programs. It will
> start with a small number of simple applications that it developed, such
> as utilities that let users chart stocks and sift through news articles.
> But the company hopes to inspire thousands of additional programs by later
> releasing a development methodology, known in the industry as APIs, for
> applications programming interface. Ms. Burke says the company will spend
> more than $10 million to advertise the service and to strike a series of
> distribution deals in building its audience.
> MyWebOS.com, a 10-person company based in Baltimore, has a different
> business model. It plans to make money by licensing its tools to other
> Internet sites and software companies that want to develop Web-based
> programs and rent them out. But the closely held company also will offer
> free software through its own site, including a word processor and later a
> spreadsheet and database, with no advertising support.
> Where many Web-based programs are slower than conventional PC programs,
> MyWebOS.com says its technology allows developers to create programs that
> are actually faster -- even over slow Internet connections.
> The company has been funded by individual investors so far. But big
> venture capitalists are knocking on the door, says Chief Executive Shervin
> Pishevar, 25, an entrepreneur who teamed up with an 18-year-old Swedish
> programmer named Fredrik Malmer. He expects to announce major partnerships
> with Web companies next month.
> "This will change the distribution of software," he said.
Received on Monday, 20 September 1999 15:30:53 UTC

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