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Google Vs Microsoft

 5:28 pm on Dec 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

The growing confrontation between Google and Microsoft promises to be an epic business battle. It is likely to shape the prosperity and progress of both companies, and also inform how consumers and corporations work, shop, communicate and go about their digital lives. Google sees all of this happening on remote servers in faraway data centers, accessible over the Web by an array of wired and wireless devices — a setup known as cloud computing. Microsoft sees a Web future as well, but one whose center of gravity remains firmly tethered to its desktop PC software. Therein lies the conflict.
At Microsoft, Mr. Schmidt’s remarks are fighting words. Traditional software installed on personal computers is where Microsoft makes its living, and its executives see the prospect of 90 percent of computing tasks migrating to the Web-based cloud as a fantasy.

Google Vs Microsoft [nytimes.com]

An interesting article that is worth reading more than once.



 6:26 pm on Dec 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

As you say, this is a very interesting article but I found the following a bit strange ...

As he (Eric Schmidt) coyly describes a move that most of the industry views as Google’s assault on Microsoft, he does his best to say that it is something entirely other than that.

Is he still scared of them or what?


 6:45 pm on Dec 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Who ever said it's MS vs Google?

Nice headline but not exactly where the real story is going which is more likely MS vs the $200 Everex computer being sold at Walmart [walmart.com] that doesn't include Windows, Office or anything else from MS.

Now THAT's the real threat to MS and you could foresee Google backing such an initiative.

Oh Wait! Too Late!

Google already did this with the Google Bundle but it was most of the same software for Windows boxes. Seems like the Google Bundle was one copy of Ubuntu Linux short of being that Everex computer.

Side note...

Speaking as someone that had Comcast fail for 3 days recently, doing 100% of your computing online is a complete fantasy. I don't need to be online to type a letter, memo, run a spreadsheet, build a Powerpoint or many other things and have no intention to do those things online only any time soon.

However, thanks to Comcast's outage, I'm now the proud owner of a Sprint Wireless Broadband USB device so it would take a really big earthquake or nuke to keep me offline at this point.


 6:58 pm on Dec 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I can't imagine most information workers seeing this as an either / or decision.

For some applications such as Maps, I prefer either a cloud computing solution (Google Maps or map24) or else a hybrid solution (Google Earth) rather than having a hard-coded map software package on my hard-drive which would quickly be out of date.

For other activities such as producing and saving my business invoices, I prefer a hard drive based application (I use OpenOffice.org Writer and save the files as MS-compatible .docs) because I only want the invoices to be accessible from my hard drive and not from any internet connected machine.

If I were developing a work schedule in collaboration with others in remote physical locations, I'd want to use cloud computing (perhaps Google Docs) rather than constantly resaving and emailing a .doc attachment backwards and forwards.

If I were developing graphics for my website I'd want to use a hard-drive based application (such as my free copy of Paint Shop Pro) because, once again, I only want those under production graphics to be accessible from my own computer.

Cloud computing is most useful for collaborative projects and for reference data which needs to be updated by external third parties.

Hard-drive based applications are better when you want to keep something under wraps rather than sending data backwards and forwards over the net.

I think the real choice is not between cloud computing and hard drive based computing but between free software or software you purchase or subscribe to.

Given the ever-increasing quality and reliability of free software - OpenOffice.org, phpbb, OpenAds, OpenCommerce, Thunderbird, Firefox etc. - I can't see much of an argument left for actually paying for software.

That said, given the choice between free software which displays contextual ads and free software which doesn't, I opt for the latter every time. I hear Gmail is very good, but I still use Yahoo! Mail as my webmail provider.


 8:06 pm on Dec 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Cloud computing is a term that's being overhyped and zealots have portrayed Google as the main player in the technology.

I remember a Jim Allchin presentation at NetWorld + InterOp in September 1995. While introducing the Gibraltar server (later named IIS), Allchin said:

"On the server side, we're focused on building an extensible platform for server applications on the Internet, so it's not just a publishing system or gopher system, it's really a platform for writing applications."

See part of Allchin's presentation at ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/bussys/winnt/winnt-docs/video-clips/

So the idea of delivering applications over the Internet doesn't come from the guys at Google.

Nevertherless, as incrediBILL mentioned, quality of service is a must to deliver applications over the Internet.

Bill Gates said in his Internet Strategy Workshop Keynote from December 1995:

"There's a need for so-called quality of service. This is a term of art that you'll hear quite a bit. This is the idea that, if you want to communicate on the Internet between two points and you want to send real-time data like video and audio, you need to be able to clear in advance bandwidth reservations so you know that that conversation or that video will be delivered.

"Now, there are many techniques or hacks for delivering video and audio without quality of service. You basically get enough buffer on the other side that you hope the lack of predictability in bandwidth won't cause an interruption, because if you have somebody listening to the audio or watching the video, an interruption is very distracting.

"It's only when you get quality of service guarantees that you know the movie won't be interrupted, the audio won't be interrupted, and then you can get something that's a superset of telephony. It's very worthwhile to continue to take today's packet-oriented structure and come up with tricky ways to get as much out of it as we can, but fundamentally, we have to have quality of service guarantees in order to convince corporations to completely drop all the line leasing and special networks that they've built up."

While we have affordable broadband connections via cable in Costa Rica, 56kbps is still the main connection to the Internet in most homes in the country.

And broadband across the US? See [news.com...] and [nielsen-netratings.com...]

Hence, expect to see Microsoft Office applications in hard disks for quite a few more years. When the time comes and broadband is the main connection to the Internet, be sure Microsoft will be ready to deliver Microsoft Office over the Internet.


 2:14 am on Dec 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

From Eric Schmidt:
Conventional software is typically built, tested and shipped in two- or three-year product cycles. Inside Google, Mr. Schmidt says, there are no two-year plans. Its product road maps look ahead only four or five months at most. And, Mr. Schmidt says, the only plans “anybody believes in go through the end of this quarter.”

A lot of folks may believe that Mr. Schmidt's admission is partly the reason why several "softly-tested" products seem to roll off of Google's assembly line without impressing users. At least that's what many Adsense publishers and Adwords advertisers seem to think.

I believe the cloud-computing concept is noteworthy, but I'm not so sure it will be as successful as Google thinks. Only time will tell.

Many large corporations who currently use PC-based word-processing and presentation applications... (like the Office suite) ...will find it very difficult to fully trust any system that is strictly web-based. Also -- huge Microsoft customers like the U.S Department of Defense will never rely solely on a cloud-computing solution -- seeing it as less secure and more susceptible to unforseen circumstances. Organizations such as these will never store official and/or sensitive material on non-government-owned servers and commercial networks that are not in their control.

But maybe Google is aiming for the home-based user, or the smaller corporate who is specifically seeking such a solution?

When you think about cloud-computing and the online applications and tools Google pushes, Microsoft could probably be a giant step ahead if they centralized some of their collaboration packages (like Sharepoint Services) and hosted them on data center supported systems. Along with a collaboration tool like Sharepoint -- Word, Excel, and Powerpoint could be offered for free (once bandwidth speeds such as cable, DSL, and T1 become more commonplace).

This would essentially be the same concept that Google is pushing.

Microsoft just has to ask itself - "Are we willing to offer anything for free?"


 2:44 am on Dec 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

If the iPhone is anything to go by then the cloud is alive and well, it incorporates cloud services from Yahoo, Google, YouTube and others without a broadband connection. This is enough for consumers, they have been trusting their email to the cloud forever.

Office documents are so 1990's, they were originally designed to transition from the paper to the digital age. I think that cloud services will excel with managing communications and links between people and documents rather than authoring documents. It will also take place on lots of devices, not just PCs.

Everyone is Microsofts competitor, but thats only because they put themselves in that position. You do not see Google vs. Apple or Apple vs. Yahoo - battle to the death. Microsofts business plan is to extinguish competition. I think that Googles plan actually involves some sort of vision.

Corporations with many users can buy the cloud and install it on their intranet, Google does this with the search appliance already. Whats exchange and sharepoint server if not a private cloud service? Many companies are now also trusting their email services to GMail (not Exchange).


 5:16 am on Dec 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

google gears [gears.google.com]!


 5:16 am on Dec 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm gonna side with incrediBILL and Ronin on this one - the real battle is between MS and Open Source - with Google playing spoiler for the cloud market.

Cloud computing is OS independant - I can run any of the "cloud" apps just as easily on a Linux box as on a Windows box. For the cloud to work, you need a strong, reliable, very fast backend 9which Google excels at). You need a highly reliable connection in the middle, and if someone can point to a retail level provider of this, at a retail level, then I'll sign up in a second (which is my way of say that the current providers suck). The front end can be anything you want it to be, so long as it adheres to certain standards.

Overall, this erodes MS's dominance. A Mac or Linux box can cloud compute as well as an MS box. Mac's advantage is a GUI that's more comfortable for a great many people. MS's advantage is a GUI that more familiar to many people. Linux offers benefits in performance, security, and cost. History has pretty much shown that Joe Sixpack doesn't understand Security or Performance, so these aren't really market factors. Cost is.

With improvements in Gnome and the GUI, Linux is finally starting to become a player. One of the biggest things the latest Gnome Distros get right (with Ubuntu being a leader), is they finally have an installer package (Synaptic) that doesn't require serious geek cred to be able to understand. It's not quite there, yet, but for the first time, the goal is within sight.

Personal anecdote:

3 years ago, I had 3 boxes at home running Windows, 1 running Linux, and I was really tied to desktop apps. I didn't want to rely on "cloud" type applications even for e-mail.

Now, I have 3 boxes running Linux, 1 running Windows (need something for all the cool PC games out there), and I'm running 80% on the desktop for apps, and only apps that are OS independat (Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, The GIMP, etc.), and 20% on the cloud for things I need to be able to do on the move.

The big change for me has been the move away from proprietary solutions. I've wanted to move away from proprietary software for a decade, but it's only within the past few years that open source solutions have matured to the point where this was feasible.

Cloud apps are coming into the mix, but they just aren't reliable enough, robust enough, and featured enough. That may change, but there's a big part of me that wants to keep certain data at home, and I really don't see that changing.

Is Google going to beat MS? No. MS is going to beat itself with their licensing practices that are going to drive people towards Open Source. Google will come out a winner from this though, as they have a good revenue stream that's independent of whoever owns the desktop. MS keeps proving that they don't have a clue what this interweb thing is really all about, and they've garnered enough animosity that their Johnny Come Lately efforts in the Cloud aren't likely to gain much traction, especially when there are strong players already in the field.


 8:54 am on Dec 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

The days of your personal PC are obviously not over, but this thread made me think back on how my own computing habits have changed. I realized I'm HEAVILY using online for everything, with my local PC being used for processing of photos, image and graphics manipulation, games, accounting, the sort of thing where I either want my documents stored locally or where online apps don't really work well for it yet.

But for email I use gmail and yahoo mail, for documents I use GDocs, for websites I use WordPress (with an old dreamweaver copy on my HD for template and CSS design), and the list of online applications I use seems to always grow.

Like all things, the view that EVERYTHING will be online is a fantasy. But Microsoft needs to be worried, as between the free software packages available for your local computer, the proliferation of free web services online (which can be really convenient) and the increasing popularity of Linux...it will be interesting to see what software people actually buy from Microsoft in the future.

I personally have no need for any of their software beyond Windows...and I'm in no flipping hurry to upgrade to Vista anytime soon.


 12:46 pm on Dec 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

i think the relative Vista Fiasco, the growing interest of consumers for Usefull Apps and devices (Mac OS, Iphone...) as a an indication that consumer awareness is growing, people look more and more at usability and price than they did 10 years ago, and they are finally starting to make choices based on their needs.

the more consumers are informed about technologies, Os's, software etc (and the Internet plays an important role here) the less they are likely to be lured by useless features, graphic effects marketed as "Revolutions"... which is a clear indication that the decades long microsoft strategy is much less effective now.

Do M$ people realize this? can they adjust? i am not sure, A fundamental part of their culture is being challenged.


 4:20 pm on Dec 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Cloud computing will probably be more frequent in the future, but is it a threat to Microsoft? I would never trust my business data to Google, Microsoft or any other party.

So I guess most business stuff is out of the question when it comes to cloud computing, unless if you develop smaller clouds within your own organization. But the difference would be nominal compared to what most businesses already do today through LAN and corporate networks.

In the business segment I think that applications like Microsoft Sharepoint and Office will evolve and be the standard. Adobe are doing some interesting stuff in this area as well. When it comes to the consumer market and maybe schools who knows what will happen.

However the large chunk of Microsofts cash comes from businesses and government use. Also Microsoft has positioned themselves towards cloud computing with their Live-services, so it's not like they are totally lagging.

Another thing I have against Cloud computing is the fact that when I am offline I do want access to my online files, yes I know that Google Gears will take care of it but why should I have to use a third party app to do what I want? Google has no OS but Microsoft has, thereby the company could create such a built in app.


 5:18 pm on Dec 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

However the large chunk of Microsofts cash comes from businesses and government use. Also Microsoft has positioned themselves towards cloud computing with their Live-services, so it's not like they are totally lagging.

It just looks like they really do not understand what is going on and are releasing another 'me too' product (nothing shocking there).

What Microsoft should fear is loss of their total domination plus fighting the public impression that they are an old out of touch company. Their whole business depends on the monopoly of Windows and Office, without them they would not have the power to attack and take over other markets.

A significant percentage of people not using their operating syatem/browser means that they cannot dominate and milk that sector. Look at what has happened with internet browsers in the last 10 years.

- Netscape releases browser.
- MS Copies it, uses their OS domination to kill the competition.
- MS sits back and milks the web developers and impedes innovation.
- Mozilla sets up a business model that cannot be killed in the same way and gains significant market share (> 10%)
- Finally (after > 5 years of nothing) MS releases IE 7 to try to maintain the domination of Windows and Office.

They are scared to death of losing the Windows cash-cow, without it their company cannot abuse so many other companies and stifle innovation. If they lose > 10% of the operating system market then we will see big changes and innovation in the market.

Microsoft is on a long path down, thats probably why Google is not so interested in competing directly with them. Thankfully for us there are some companies that do care about making good products over good profits.

Good riddance Microsoft, on the way out, please please just give up on IE. A web with only Mozilla, WebKit and Opera would be a better place.


 2:39 am on Dec 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Good riddance Microsoft, on the way out, please please just give up on IE. A web with only Mozilla, WebKit and Opera would be a better place.

I wouldn't do it with a revenue or business oriented site, but for the past few weeks I've been seriously considering blocking IE from viewing my personal sites (about a half dozen sites, with not insignificant traffic when totalled together). Do a re-direct to a page that explains why the surfer should dump IE.

I know, I wouldn't be the first to do it. But it's a statement that gets louder with everyone who makes it.

The only thing stopping me is a deep inner belief in open access to all.


 3:07 am on Dec 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Microsofts business plan is to extinguish competition. I think that Googles plan actually involves some sort of vision.

Yes... Google's plan appears to be to host and store every piece of information conceivable. A cloud concept run by Google is really just another attempt to store more and more information.

However the large chunk of Microsofts cash comes from businesses and government use. Also Microsoft has positioned themselves towards cloud computing with their Live-services, so it's not like they are totally lagging.

It just looks like they really do not understand what is going on and are releasing another 'me too' product (nothing shocking there).

I agree that Live Services is just another "me too" product. I believe Live Services is an example of a cloud-scheme that Microsoft wants to grow, but knows it can't compete in the online, open-source market with.

But Microsoft controls a multi-million $$$ sector of home-based computing and until major PC manufacturers start shipping their desktops (and laptops) with a Linux OS solution -- Microsoft will still hold that share. Plus -- Microsoft's dominance in the government sector is a lot stronger than in the civilian sector.

What Microsoft should fear is loss of their total domination...

They are scared to death of losing the Windows cash-cow...

Any company would fear this -- even Google. What would Google do if Yahoo, Microsoft or some other entity started dipping into its online advertising influence?

Google currently owns this arena, but it will certainly be a long day in Mountain View when they realize the gravy train is starting to slow down.


 3:33 am on Dec 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

...until major PC manufacturers start shipping their desktops (and laptops) with a Linux OS solution -- Microsoft will still hold that share.

Dell, HP, and Lenovo are already shipping Linux PCs and Laptops for both the consumer and business markets.


 7:41 am on Dec 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've been seriously considering blocking IE from viewing my personal sites

It would be about as effective as standing in the forest shouting "TREES!" just to warn people about them.


 9:54 am on Dec 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thankfully for us there are some companies that do care about making good products over good profits

Is there? Who are they?


 12:33 pm on Dec 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

What would Google do if Yahoo, Microsoft or some other entity started dipping into its online advertising influence?

Isn't that exactly what MS AdCenter is aimed at (removing Googles oxygen supply I believe). Google responds by creating a better product rather than fixating on killing a rival.

Is there? Who are they?

Well Apple and Google seem to be in the business of making good products before profit (they do make profits but only because they make good products).

They both provide products with less features on paper than MS rivals but the quality and attention to detail on Google and Apple products are light years ahead.

Microsoft just aims to make their product look similar to middle management so they buy it over the competition. VMWare is a good example here. They make an excellent product that does things you can barely get your head around, but MS decides to release their very poor virtulization product and claim it is the same to try to kill any competition. They do not have the customers interests at heart when making products.

Apple has agreed now to work with KHTML people and give back changes to webkit. They may have upset a few people but they have put making up with those people over their profits. Did Microsoft ever give anything back to the BSD networking stack?


 3:41 pm on Dec 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

No one seems to see it coming.
just wait tell the next one
all in one

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