Veteran virtual collaboration software vendor ContactOffice has given up its prime post over the office.com domain, possibly in favor of Microsoft, which is rumored to be announcing its Google Docs killer Office Online next week.
According to WHOIS, a brand protector and “IP investigator” firm called Marksmen now holds the rights to the soon-to-be eponymous domain. Marksmen, in turn, is known to purchase domains on behalf of Microsoft; it was the unwitting dupe in this 2007 little payola scandal. It doesn’t take a Wile E. Coyote to make the leap and assume that come August 1, http://office.com will sport a new coat of pale blue Web 2.0, courtesy of Clippy. (Yes, I know he’s retired, but the blood still boils at the very mention of the name, no?)
Reached by phone, ContactOffice spokesman Tom Graham would not comment on the move in any way, so it is unknown on how Microsoft convinced the small firm to shuffle out of the limelight. The $60 billion Redmond firm has been known to move aggressively to crush competitors, but it has also made millionaires by buying up technologies and intellectual property as it saw fit.
Google Docs, meanwhile, with its tiny market share, hardly seems to be a competitor to Microsoft Office, but Redmond is clearly planting stakes in every cloud market it can; from reports that it will undercut Amazon Web Services (AWS) with Azure, to promoting its Dynamic Data Center Toolkit. (Surely, that should convince legions of data center operators to switch to Hyper-V!)