I've been lax in my Marqui blog-for-pay work lately, so today and tomorrow will be a one-two combo to get me up to date on posts, and bring me to end of my contract. (Haven't decided yet if I'll renew if given the option; several people I admire have expressed concerns about the mixing of editorial and advertising content, and I found Jason Kottke's recent post particularly compelling.)
That being said, I've been thinking about the "software as service" concept that Marqui is pushing with their CMS, and I find it somewhat intriguing. The basic idea is that your source content, and your finished output (HTML pages, Word documnts, PDFs, etc) live on your own your servers. It's just the processing of your input that's handled by Marqui's server. (Think of it a bit like having Blogger publish your site to your own server, rather than their servers--you provide the input, they process it and output it to your site.)
This is true of proprietary software, too, of course. If I create a project using Macromedia Flash or Director, I can output it and run it anywhere, but I can only edit it if I have the software. The difference here, however, is that once I've bought (licensed) the software, I can use it again at any time--with "software as service," once I stop paying I lose my ability to use the software.
Marqui's not the only place offering software as a service--some of my students have recently started using Basecamp for project management. For some reason, though, Basecamp feels less...well...scary to commit to.
Marqui really needs to work on its web site. When you get there, it's not at all clear what they're trying to sell you. Compare that to Basecamp's site. Clear, direct, easy to understand what they're offering. A free mode that lets you use the system for simple tasks. That would make me feel a lot more comfortable recommending to people that they give the system a shot. As it is, it doesn't feel clear or approachable--the site and the concept remain too opaque for most people to respond to.