CyberTech Rambler

November 5, 2007

Google tracing Microsoft’s footsteps?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 6:20 pm

On November  the 2nd we heard from Cringely why he thinks Google is the next Microsoft. Robert Cringely has this flare of seeing and connecting things (correctly) before others did. And sure enough, he demonstrates enough evidence to convince you that this is the case. While I am not sure whether Google’s abandonment of Free411 acquisition is aptly described as the way Microsoft goes into negotiation with small companies only to abruptly cutoff negotiation to start its own rival service coz this is the first time I heard it, the bigger picture that Cringely paint of Google do like a budding monopolist, a bit like Microsoft in the mid 1990s. Google is in a very competitive web-based market with (still) a lot to lose, which is the situation Microsoft found itself when it first launched Windows 95. Both Google today and Microsoft then are companies that have to thrive and survive in a very competitive market. We all see how Microsoft turned out  to be. What is there to say that Google will not? Counter articles like the one on USAToday, The Inquirer and TechNewsWorld just reinforce the parallels between the two companies. They really reminds me of what Microsoft enjoyed before being called and labeled the monopolist.

Another  trend you see where Google emulate Microsoft is the way Google wants to branch into everything. First we have openSocial,then openHandset. Sounds familiar? Does Microsoft’s attempts throughout mind 90s to create a unified API for hardwares? True, the risk is bigger for Google than for Microsoft, but the goal is still the same. Most importantly, like Microsoft’s hardware API effort, I am not convinced that openSocial and openHandset is fully open. With open, I do not mean the ideal of ISO-style openness, but Java-like openness.

For more similarity between Google and Microsoft, just look at how Google approach openHandset operates: You supply the hardware, Google supply the software? Familiar? Windows Mobile and pre-Zune play-for-sure. Both did not works out very well. Is Google heading down the same direction?

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