Friday, 9 April 2010

Is Google going the Microsoft way?

Not everything that Google does is successful. Although it’s the undisputed king of the web, it has started seeing its failures too. Microsoft ruled the roost for a couple of decades and its the leader in Desktop and corporate computing. I don’t see it facing any hurdles anytime soon. Not from Google at least.

When Microsoft seemed to lose the web war, people started speculating another Netscape – IE battle. They sniffed the same fate of Microsoft at the hands of Google what Microsoft did to Real Player and Netscape. Microsoft tried a lot of things to stay alive in the Internet search and advertising market – the latest being renaming Live to Bing – trying to be catchy. It has about 3.1% market share.

The list of failures for Google is not a very long one, but it’s on the rise.

Google Chrome OS launched in July 2009, is begging for some attention. It’s called the browser OS where hardware is no requirement. I will give it 5 years to see what it does. I wish it all the best.

Orkut seems huge in India and Brazil. The rest of the world does Facebook. It’s invading India and Brazil big time now. Google seems to be playing catch-up here. They are copying Facebook’s wall and trying to look different at the same time. They introduced Buzz to see through Twitter, but again they are just catching-up. By the time they reach where their competitors are they will surge ahead. Never play catch-up in a race, be innovative.

Lively – remember I fondly introduced Lively earlier? You can see that they are saying it was just an experiment. Do you ever do Google Checkout? The list is growing and if you “Google” it you see the list.

There is a huge difference in the business model of these two hugely popular and hugely successful companies. They are not going anywhere they will stay as long as we wish to see them. But, the point is that the monopoly that Microsoft enjoyed for a long time and nobody questioned but enjoyed its supremacy can’t be shown by Google. Lets see.

With Microsoft staying strong and growing incrementally, I do not see Google toppling its throne. As the technology market is huge, the surface area has increased substantially, and you will see that they will soon share it cleanly and their will be less confrontation. The boundaries are drawn already. Apple has become an elite hardware manufacturer, Microsoft rules desktop and office computing and Google reaps the web.

These three are now trying to annihilate the competition in mobile computing and hardware. Nokia, Motorola, Sony and Blackberry could be at the receiving end. Apple has been somewhat successful, Android is catching up, and Microsoft is busy with its Mobile OS upgrades, but there is a lot to be done.

There are overlaps here and there, but the intensity of the overlap will subside over time. When that happens, things will stabilize and then we will notice the emergence of another Microsoft-Google like success story.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


I am not sure if I love dogs, but I can’t stop noticing them. I live in a city that is full of dogs. My locality has a plenty of them. Each one of them carries its unique identity. As a kid I always used to wonder why all dogs look the same. But as I started to “mature” I could easily differentiate them. If you perform a DNA analysis on them you will solicit my views – just kidding, it’s not that difficult. Having said that, this one is not about how to identify or distinguish dogs, but it’s about my brushes with them. To make things more interesting I will break this one into episodes – however, unlike Love, Sex aur Dhoka, the stories do not intersect each other. The inspiration of breaking it into chapters didn’t come from Inglorious Bastards, and definitely not from Radio.

Chapter 1 – The dog bite
Imagine a 3 years young kid, playing in the verandah with the main gate open, and a local friendly dog called Sheru coming straight towards him. Sheru just wanted to be friends with that kid because the kid used to offer him leftovers. No prizes for guessing that kid was me. I was terrified, and started screaming. Khurshid bhaiya came to my “rescue”. Given my reputation I later realized that he came to rescue Sheru.

Chapter 2 – Smiles all around
Next time you see a dog, notice him (it) closely. You will always find it smiling. It will keep its mouth open, tongue out and will welcome you with a huge 18 inches smile. I always do. Whenever I am down, and nobody’s around me, and if I get chance to witness this phenomena I feel relaxed. Try that, it’s not so bad, you feel good anyways. I have had the opportunity to visit European countries a couple of times. What a place to be, full of natural beauty. You’ll notice that everybody smiles at you, and they will keep saying sorry without rhyme or reason. Strangely enough, it reminds me of dogs. I am bad I know.

Chapter 3 – This one needs pampering
Munirka, New Delhi
December 2004

It’s the very well known Dilli ki sardi afternoon, and I am enjoying carom with Pankaj, my landlady’s scheming son, and his nephew. The landlady’s dog is circling around trying to bite his tail. The scheming son often comes to me with new and amazing ideas to make money – he was once just short of suggesting to kidnap somebody – never mind, I gel around well with all types. Pankaj as usual, is fiddling around with the dog, trying to talk to him. Yes, he said bow-wow a couple of times too. The nephew hasn’t shown me enough traits to find a mention here, but the dog was a very curious one. It came to me, pretty close, and was about to lay his jaw on my lap. As usual I screamed, not as much as in the first chapter, but I did.

Pankaj then made me realize that the dog liked me, and that it “loved” me too. I was listening; he said you should have pampered him. I said wow-bow.

Chapter 4 – The superhero of DDA flats
I love Delhi, that’s why I keep going back there. The last time, when I was there I decided to stay in DDA flats, Dwarka. It was a nice little gated community where kids used to play freely in the parks, and sometimes in my flat too. I love kids, so I was pleased. My neighbor had a dog, a rare breed I would say because I never saw such a dog. It looked like as if it drunk Complan a little bit too much when it was a kid. The reason is that its face was like the famous “Hutch” dog, but his height was like of German shepherd. Quite weird, yes it is. Either it didn’t like me, or it smiled that way! This guy used to run within the campus all the time- just like that. He used to sit as if it was not only guarding the community but the planet Earth too. It was like a superhero with a cape at the back. Just imagine – two front legs upright on ground and sitting on back legs, head held high and moving on all directions. I once went behind it to check if it wore a cape too!

Chapter 5 – Humans are crazy
This morning when I was driving to office, I was disturbed to see a huge road rolling and pasting machine blocking my way. I was about to get frustrated when I saw this dog, it was gazing in amaze, with those big and beautiful eyes at the man made beast from top to bottom. I am sure, he must have thought, these humans are crazy!

Chapter 6 – I don’t want a ride
This lot is special, they will lie on the street and they don’t care a damn. You can’t just honk them out; you will have to take a diversion. It happens a lot of times when you are driving and particularly in narrow lanes. They are representatives of the driving license department. They speak out loud with their silence that if you think you deserve the license that you carry just play this curve ball. I used to wonder why my driving has improved!

Monday, 5 April 2010

The Butterfly Effect

I am a movie buff, well, not as much as my dear friend Pankaj, but pretty close. I have fond memories of him dragging me to movie halls every alternate Friday. Sometimes the movies were good, sometimes they were not so good. Those days I was kind of short tempered, and I was fortunate to have him with me to carry me through that insane phase of my life. He lives in Dubai these days, we don't get to communicate too often, but we are connected. I miss him, and whenever I fondly remember those days, it leaves a smile on my face.

The title of this post is borrowed from a movie by the same name. A lot of you must have seen this movie, but as usual I have got a different story to tell out of this known story. The plot is rather complicated and I had to see this movie with subtitles twice to fully understand it. I am not a very good listener – just an excuse, I couldn’t understand what they said in intense scenes. Whatever.

This guy goes through some “blackouts” in his life. Those are important events in his life where his mind went blank. Well, happens to me all the time. My mind goes blank just like that and little too often. My father used to say about me – this guy is good but sometimes he goes off – off the hook he meant. Nevertheless, those blackouts in the movie provided him traversal points to his life. He didn’t realize it until he was in his college. Unlike me, he used to write his experiences, and this diary provided him with the tool to communicate to his traversal points – you there?

By time traveling this guy tried to figure out what happened when he went blank. He did, and he was rather shocked. He then realized that he could change certain things. He did. When he came back to the present time everything around him changed. His life changed. People around him changed, some were disfigured, and once he found himself without limbs. In short, he was never able to get the perfect combination for an ideal life. Whatever he did resulted in a surprise in a bad way.

Did I mention about his best friend? She was his childhood friend – part and witness of his blackouts. She was involved in some of the major events. In order to live his life with his best friend, he was trying to get the combination right by altering his past. He never succeeded. Only once he did, but then they met as strangers, and passed through – that was best for both of them, and that eventually was the end of the movie.

People sometimes try to fix things and then they try to figure out the best way forward. They however don’t realize that there is a separate program that is doing all this for them – the Architect of this Matrix. Whatever he does, might not be the best for you in your opinion, but because he has to take care of everything around you, he figures out the most optimal solution that works for everybody. You might want to traverse through those blackouts but I am sure that’s not going to help. Well, that guy tried at least five combinations and they all backfired. One of them I thought was pretty good, but it wasn’t.

All I want to say is that you don’t have the privilege of doing what this guy had, and don’t even try- I am sure it will not work. Make the most of what you have got today, and be very prudent of each decision that you take from now on. That’s because each one of your decisions potentially is a traversal point in your life.

I wish I had changed a certain 6th June in my life, when I was very rude to one of my best friends ever. I wish I could change the way I talked to Pankaj when he insisted for a movie – he was just trying to be nice to me. I wish I could be very nice to all of them who were or who are a part of my life. But, that’s all gone, that time is not going to return. There is no redemption, but there is and there will be opportunities. Go ahead, grab your chances, and make somebody happy. You will realize eventually that true happiness is making people around you happy. They needn’t be physically present but they must be connected.

Just a food for thought!