Rumor Updates: Eventually. Maybe.

A quick update on two items on which I reported yesterday.

CNET News.com’s Martin LaMonica today quotes John Case, general manager of Microsoft’s developer division as saying that Microsoft will add offline capabilities to Silverlight “eventually”:

“It’s something that we will want to do,” Case said in an interview on Monday. “Eventually, customers will expect us to do it.”

Not only does this sound like offline features are not imminent, the CNET piece doesn’t clarify whether, when available, these will simply provide offline storage of Web application data (akin to Google Gears) or true desktop integration (like Adobe AIR). Time will tell.

In other news, Microsoft today announced that it will expand its offerings for hosted versions of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. Previously available only to companies with more than 5,000 employees, today’s announcement extends the offering, dubbed “Microsoft Online Services,” to smaller companies.

It is unclear whether or not this is part of the announcements Nick Carr speculated about yesterday regarding Microsoft’s “expansive and detailed strategy for moving its software business into the cloud.”

While today’s announcement is significant in terms of an expansion of Microsoft’s business model, it’s not a radical break with the past. Microsoft is providing a server hosting service with Web-based administration tools for managing the servers and user accounts along with a subscription-based pricing model. But it looks like the same architecture Exchange and SharePoint provide today, except Microsoft runs the servers rather than you. It’s a significant addition to Microsoft’s service offerings, but hardly a revolution. But, if Carr’s information is accurate, there may be more news to come. Maybe.

For more details on Microsoft Online Services, see Microsoft’s press release:

The Wall Street Journal’s story is here:

 

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