CyberTech Rambler

February 21, 2006

Microsoft and Integration

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 7:21 pm

One of my long time friend who blogs on Warong Karipuf is blogging about how an Microsoft employee is complaining about the “excessive” attention Google is attracting with its email-hosting service.

He is right when he says that Microsoft’s has been canabolizing other people’s offering when it integrates the same their services into Window Desktop and that their strong presence on the OS offering is only “average” at best. He is also right when he says that Microsoft have to do more work to get noticed on the net where the OS advantage is not available to them.

I am interested in exploring the issue he raised on Microsoft’s desktop. In that post, he argued that Firefox (and others) need to create products with significant attractive features (advantages) to entice users to download them while Microsoft’s product simply have to be “acceptable” because of its Desktop advantage.
There is no doubt that Microsoft’s offerings for the desktop is just “acceptable” and their products offering lacks innovations. Moreover, without their prepackaged advantage, it is difficult to see any compelling reasons to download their products to try it out. However, I do not see the fact that their products is simply ordinary and lack attraction a bad thing.

The fact that Microsoft is offering similar products force other vendors to innovate or die and a large numbers of vendors responded well. Real Network is still alive and kicking despict Media Player. Opera is doing well even with Microsoft’s dominence on the Desktop and dirty trick. What Microsoft did was to make basic functions of the product available, in effect cannabolizing the lower end of the market and force vendors to innovate to survive. Microsoft inability to produce a better product than these vendors ensured their survival.

We must not see desktop integration or preloading software as a bad thing. Not only Microsoft is doing it, KDE, GNOME and Apple are also offerring desktop integration and preloaded software as well. Desktop integration provides users with convenience and better user experience. The problems with desktop integration Microsoft style are

  1. Bad architecture and programming practices where a small flaw at one place can create an uncontrollable (and unnecessary) chain-reaction akin to a nuclear explosion. The same chain reaction also make the fixing a flaw difficult.
  2. Their refusal to create and maintain a level playing field. They give their own programs unfair advantages and take all possible steps to “lock out” others from the desktop.

Thus it is Microsoft’s implementation, not Desktop integration itself, is at fault.

Like Microsoft in the 90s, every step Google take, every rumours involving Google, is a potential story. Microsoft is finding itself losing the limelight to Google. My friend Karipuf is correct in pointing out that people in Microsoft find it difficult to accept.
On the net, without the advantage of owning the OS, the concensus is that Microsoft is finding that it face a more level playing field. In this world, as Karipuf pointed out indirectly, being just “acceptable” is not good enough. Google-brand websites are easier, more intuitive to use than Microsoft-branded websites or indeed other websites. That’s Google edge. Microsoft, with its vast resources, can dent this edge, if it choose to.

Until that day, Microsoft people can complain to their hearts contents, people will simply see them as yesterday’s poster child, like (am I allow to say it?) Netscape.

As I said in a previous post, Microsoft is waking up to the challenge of Google. So far, WindowsLive and OfficeLive looks like a potential breath of fresh air into the old social networking and office collaboration stuff. It is certainly worth keeping an eye on these two sites.

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