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.

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