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Microsoft vs. Google — Mutually Assured Destruction

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the pieces-are-everywhere dept.

Microsoft 416

jmcbain writes "Robert X. Cringely asserts that nothing good will come out of the ongoing war between Microsoft and Google: 'The battle between Microsoft and Google entered a new phase last week with the announcement of Google's Chrome Operating System — a direct attack on Microsoft Windows. This is all heady stuff and good for lots of press, but in the end none of this is likely to make a real difference for either company or, indeed, for consumers. It's just noise — a form of mutually assured destruction intended to keep each company in check.'"

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First Nuclear Weapon Equipped Post (4, Funny)

billstewart (78916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677735)

Kaboom!

Re:First Nuclear Weapon Equipped Post (3, Informative)

Gay for Linux (942545) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677927)

The issue here is less whether competition or good or bad (competition is good) but whether a downward spiral of free crap (see Office being given away online) will reduce in loss-leaders that kill both business models leaving everyone bust.

Hence nuclear software wasteland.

Re:First Nuclear Weapon Equipped Post (3, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678103)

Actually the issue is less "will free crap ruin us" and is more "will pointless free crap, just released in an attempt to shore up eroding market share ruin us". And the answer is, yes. But as only one of the companies involved is attempting to make up their costs for giving stuff away for free by doing it in 'volume' and the other is using free stuff to expand their actual revenue stream, the posited scenario is a straw man.

not good? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28677737)

That's true..in the sense that now Microsoft and Google now actually have competitors (God forbid). I say let 'em duke it out and may the best OS win.

Re:not good? (3, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678001)

Oh, please. Google OS is a glorified web browser tailored to netbooks. It won't even make a scratch on Windows' entrenchment in the desktop market.

Re:not good? (4, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678149)

Oh, please. Google OS is a glorified web browser tailored to netbooks. It won't even make a scratch on Windows' entrenchment in the desktop market.

Today...

Re:not good? (5, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678593)

Oh, please. Google OS is a glorified web browser tailored to netbooks. It won't even make a scratch on Windows' entrenchment in the desktop market.

Considering the huge number of users who know nothing but how to use a web browser, I think you're quite mistaken. I think it's very likely that Chrome OS will replace Windows for most non-geek consumers -- and because it's going to be open source, a lot of geeks will probably adopt it too.

Re:not good? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28678649)

You're the first commenter I've seen (including Cringely, Dvorak, SJVN, etc.) who seems to understand what Chrome OS really is. It's an OS for a Browser Appliance. The machine will boot to a web browser as quickly as possible, but it won't run anything but the browser, which becomes the "OS", or programming platform.

However, I think people aren't realizing the impact this could have. Imagine something that looks like a netbook or laptop (or even tablet PC), but behaves more like an appliance than a computer. You turn it on, and it comes up almost instantly ready to browse the internet. It will be lighter, cooler, and cheaper than a laptop computer. It won't replace the primary computer in my office, but it sure would be nice to have a lightweight portable battery-powered wifi-enabled browser appliance that doesn't burn my legs on my lap as a secondary computer I can use in my easy chair, the back deck, in the bathroom, or in bed. This thing could just about kill off the laptop-as-a-fullblown-desktop-substitute genre completely, which are actually selling bigger than desktop computers right now.

Dear Mr Cringley (4, Funny)

linumax (910946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677739)

The phenomenon you are witnessing is also known as competition in some circles. It has been known to exist in the world of business for a very very long time.

Re:Dear Mr Cringley (5, Insightful)

jmyers (208878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678047)

Of course if you read the article, I know it is a lot to ask, you will find that he is not talking about competition. For the very short summary.

MS Makes money from Windows and Office.
Google makes money from search based advertising.
Nothing else really matters to either company.

MS attempts at the search ad market and Google's attempts are the OS market are not intended to succeed. They are just the corporate equivalent or "be nice to me or I will fuck your girlfriend". Both side know the other has no chance, but the media loves to talk about it.

Re:Dear Mr Cringley (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28678299)

And how can those attempts be used to keep the other company in check if they have no chance to succeed? If can only be called MAD if the weapons actually work.

Re:Dear Mr Cringley (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28678307)

why?

why cant google create a successful operating system? would it be so out of the realm of possibility to see "google os" displayed alongside microsoft windows, in shrink-wrap packaging, at your local best buy? and perhaps significantly cheaper, and catering to a certain market who do not require Office but simply internet access with a few applications?

Re:Dear Mr Cringley (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678313)

Of course if you read the article, I know it is a lot to ask, you will find that he is not talking about competition. For the very short summary.

MS Makes money from Windows and Office. Google makes money from search based advertising. Nothing else really matters to either company.

MS attempts at the search ad market and Google's attempts are the OS market are not intended to succeed. They are just the corporate equivalent or "be nice to me or I will fuck your girlfriend". Both side know the other has no chance, but the media loves to talk about it.

Of course it's competition - it's the corporate equivalent of deploying forces to keep the other side's amin forces in check without overly threatining them. The idea is to make a counter move more expensive than it's worth and tie up resources that could be used elsewhere.

As long as both sides are reasonably rational and not out to destroy the other at all costs it works reasonably well. Both sides carve up the market, smaller players get marginalized and both big player's main markets are reasonably secure.

Re:Dear Mr Cringley (1)

Svippy (876087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678329)

MS attempts at the search ad market and Google's attempts are the OS market are not intended to succeed. They are just the corporate equivalent or "be nice to me or I will fuck your girlfriend". Both side know the other has no chance, but the media loves to talk about it.

I wouldn't be so sure.

Google has certainly sort of suggested that it cannot use search based advertisement forever. And Google have been trying to get its foot in the door in some other businesses than advertisement.

So far, however, success has been limited. And while Microsoft and Google may be earning cash from those things right now, there is still an unsteady and unforeseeable future ahead of us.

So Google's OS may not be its most serious attempt into another market, but I doubt they are doing it without some hope that it will gain revenue. Microsoft Bing, on the other hand, is purely the imperialistic methods of Microsoft, whom have always felt that they should have products in every market.

Re:Dear Mr Cringley (3, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678511)

If you think companies don't diversify, you are horribly mistaken.

Do you think that Kraft foods only makes cheese for example? Companies diversify into similar fields.

From a consumer point of view you are dead correct in that you are oblivious to the other dealings of many companies. MS makes money from things other than windows and office. Lots of other things. If that was all they did, they'd go broke. They make money off programming deals, etc. The closest thing to say about MS and google is: they both profit from software, internet, and hardware. Thus isn't not even expanding their capability, just more work in a field they already work in.

MS attempts at search have been horrible as they haven't improved anything [searchenginejournal.com] and have been using them to hide data [blackdog.ie] (look up situations involving bing on that - search anything that is negative about MS). I'm not saying google's attempts at an OS are going to be 100 % successful (as nobody can predict the future with an uneducated guess), but android is optimized for ARM, so it actually makes sense to create a separate OS. Plus, they have a ton of programmers?

Wow, when MS said they had something to announce monday, I didn't think it'd be an article full of spin.

Re:Dear Mr Cringley (2, Insightful)

Extremus (1043274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678607)

They are just the corporate equivalent or "be nice to me or I will fuck your girlfriend"

Indeed. If you look closer, everything in the world is about having sex, in an way or another.

Re:Dear Mr Cringley (1, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678655)

[quote]MS Makes money from Windows and Office.
Google makes money from search based advertising.
Nothing else really matters to either company.[/quote]

Wrong. WRONG WRONG WRONG.

Yes, those are their primary markets. Google owns the online advertising market, and MS owns the online desktop OS and productivity markets. But things change: companies reach respective market saturation and need to continue to increase their revenue to make stock owners happy, and existing products (once reaching saturation) can not continue to meet those demands.

Why, then, even bother edging into other markets? Google is pushing Android, Chrome, gmail, and a myriad of other things; Microsoft has Xbox and its games, Zune, and so on. Why bother?

Because no product is a Sure Thing. There ARE competitors. MS is pushing into Google's primary domain (Bing), and Google is counteracting them by pushing back (Chrome). I doubt the similarity of connotation in Chrome and Bing's naming is just happenstance.

Re:Dear Mr Cringley (1)

Zoidbot (1194453) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678185)

Except in America, where corruption is rife (despite having anti-corruption laws), and big corporates like Microsoft (and to a lesser degree Google) can do what they hell they want, as long as they keep people in work.

Re:Dear Mr Cringley (4, Insightful)

scubamage (727538) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678551)

What is this commie liberal pinko "competition" bs. This is the United States of America. Everyone knows that capitalism works by litigating your competitors into oblivion, not by creating better products and services. Why, just look at the telephone, cable, satellite, and **AA providers.

Re:Dear Mr Cringley (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28678565)

Keeping each company in check is plenty beneficial to both customer and company.

The outcome: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28677747)

I have to say that Firefox is getting a lot worse lately. The user experience is in serious need of improvement and development is the pits. I installed the latest "big deal" Firefox update on June 30th. (For some reason they skipped a full four secondary updates, but whatever.) Upon restarting, which took several minutes, I began using Firefox 3.5 [trollaxor.com] .

At first, Firefox seemed strangely familiar. I thought they had changed very little unnecessarily until I visited the Acid3 [acidtests.org] test. Lo and behold, I was still using Firefox 3.0.0.11. What the fuck? I manually invoked Check for Updates and repeated my first attempt only to find, upon restarting, the same thing.

Finally in desperation I downloaded the installer manually from Mozilla [mozilla.com] . The install ran surprisingly quickly and, after a few minutes, I was launched with the new version. I had to check, though, because again I thought it looked like very little had changed.

In fact, did Mozilla bother changing anything beside the JavaScript? The new TraceMonkey is great and all, but they could have at least made it look like they were working on something else. When the most noticeable improvement is the "Know Your Rights" button (which everyone ignores) one really starts to wonder what the fuss was all about.

Well, after the three tries it took to upgrade, I found my profile wouldn't migrate. This was a mess, but I was able to eventually retrieve my bookmarks from a long, arcane file path in a hidden directory. But then upon visiting my bookmarked sites I found that almost none of my add-ons are compatible with it. Therefore my browser is almost entirely functionless.

The bookmark tool itself could use a polishing. It's a mess and has been since version 1.0. If a browser is meant to render and organize content, Firefox surely falls down in this area. Why does it take me several minutes to slosh through the GUI just to make a new folder and alphabetize some bookmarks in it? Not to mention the damned Bookmarks toolbar, which takes up too much damn space and can't be turned off.

And speaking of the GUI, it's slow as Hell slowget rid of the proprietary XUL and just hardcode the damned interface already!

I also have to mention memory use. On my system, Firefox was swallowing an incredible 400 MB with only a simple HTML 4 table open. 400 MB?! I blame this on the Firefox team's use of C++, where memory management is about as easy as herding cats. Likewise Firefox is a slow, bloated nightmare. (For a contrast, there's Safari [apple.com] , which is written in Objective C and is very small and efficient.)

Most of the time I have heavy JavaScript sites open. I shudder to think how much Firefox eats then, and I'll be sure to check in the future. No wonder my system tends to slow down when I've left Firefox open for days on end with dynamically updating pages and RSS feeds. Clearly, Firefox leaks memory like a cracked sieve in a waterfall.

With Firefox smelling more and more like crapware, I started to dig a little, first on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] and then on the Mozilla Development Forums [mozilla.org] . It turns out that my observations are part of a larger pattern of Firefox quality issues and development customs. The Mozilla developers are a bunch of arrogant, abusive shitheads.

For starters, they're still running all tabs in the same process. This is something IE7 and Safari 3 have had right for years. So if a plugin crashes or a page takes forever to finish rendering, everything's stuck. You can't even switch tabs to another page! And Firefox 3.5 is a "milestone" release? Firefox 3.6 and 4 are milestones too, and process-per-tab isn't scheduled for either.

Developer interaction with Firefox users is stilted too. Sometimes Bugzilla [mozilla.org] reports are dismissed out of hand, only to be reopened when something goes terribly wrong later. I also saw instances of reported security flaws sitting years before being patched. In one case, someone released an exploit to point out the deep holes in Firefox before anyone did anything.

One time, a user with some programming experience suggested a bugfix to the wishlist. One programmer, whom I will not publicly name, suggested the user submit patches "once his balls dropped," if he were even male. If this were a real company and not a bunch of arrogant hacker hippies, user antagonism and sexism would never be acceptable. When I read this particular incident I uninstalled Firefox for good.

If anyone else has complaints about Firefox, post them here. For a browser that's taken nearly a third of the market, it's doing so with an incredibly broken development model and backend. Just imagine if the Firefox team actually treated its users right or prioritized projects properly. Maybe then the web would move beyond the mess of incompatibile standards and site hacks it is today.

Until then, Firefox is just another out-of-control Open Source project that needs a good stiff slap in the face.

Re:The outcome: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28677823)

This is interesting but has nothing to do with Microsoft vs Google.

Re:The outcome: (0, Troll)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678107)

i would use my mod points but...
+----------+
|  PLEASE  |
|  DO NOT  |
| FEED THE |
|  TROLLS  |
+----------+
    |  |
    |  |
  .\|.||/..

that troll has been everywhere recently.

I hope Microsoft gets stuffed by Google (0, Flamebait)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677749)

Their products suck badly, their licencing sucks badly, their monopoly sucks badly, their whole attitude sucks really badly.
They're so overdue to be brought down.

Re:I hope Microsoft gets stuffed by Google (-1, Redundant)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677841)

their monopoly sucks badly

Yes, yes it does. considering there are other OS' out there and apparantly a new one hitting the market. Considering there are other browsers out there, and apparantly a new one hitting the market. Considering there are other media players out there, and apparantly a new one hitting the market...the list goes on. Get the point? There are more options then you can throw a stick at.

BTW the current IE version is greater then the current FireFox version...I am contemplating switching back to IE8...but something about leaving FireFox for IE makes me feel unclean - but the proof is in the pudding and independent reports are saying it's time for IE (as of now that is).

Re:I hope Microsoft gets stuffed by Google (4, Insightful)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677959)

A monopoly is not just the lack of substitute (or competing) goods - it's about the lack of viable competing goods. So in this case, MS still fits the bill (e.g. Being the most popular platform, and with the win32 API being very heavily embedded in many products, targeting Windows is the only viable option for a lot of companies. It doesn't necessarily mean it's the only one)

Re:I hope Microsoft gets stuffed by Google (-1, Flamebait)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678273)

A monopoly is not just the lack of substitute (or competing) goods - it's about the lack of viable competing goods. So in this case, MS still fits the bill (e.g. Being the most popular platform, and with the win32 API being very heavily embedded in many products, targeting Windows is the only viable option for a lot of companies. It doesn't necessarily mean it's the only one)

OS-X is not a viable competing good? Are you also saying that google chrome is not a viable competing good? How is it MS fault Apple/Google cannot produce competing goods - they have the money to do it. THough I think they are competing goods. Being the most popular is not enough to be conisdered a monopoly. I think Wii is the most popular game console (it could be PS3 or Xbox depending on which report you read) - does that make Nintendo a monopoly? No.

While MS did some bad things in the past (using their power to ensure retailers only sold their OS) this has pretty much gone the way of the doe-doe bird.

Linx, OS-X, Chrome(yet to be proven) are all viable products.

Re:I hope Microsoft gets stuffed by Google (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28678413)

A shame that a lot of the products people are looking for tend to be primarily Windows-only, which make those viable options, unviable.

Re:I hope Microsoft gets stuffed by Google (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678519)

A shame that a lot of the products people are looking for tend to be primarily Windows-only, which make those viable options, unviable.

MS is a company notorious for making it hard for other companies to interface with their software. Shouldn't that incentivize these companies (who make games, productivity software, etc) to produce on other platforms which aren't so restrictive? Apparantly not because they produce first for MS and then for the other folks. So sue those companies.

I love the american dream - get big, get as big as possible..then when you are number one everyone will call you evil and sue you as much as possible... The real american dream = litigation.

Re:I hope Microsoft gets stuffed by Google (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678503)

OS-X is not a viable competing good?

Can I get my games working on it? If not, I'll be forced to use Windows, which I'd really rather not.

Re:I hope Microsoft gets stuffed by Google (2)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678585)

Until Adobe and Steinberg and Native Instruments and EA and Valve and id Software and M-Audio and Boss and Tascam and Alesis and Mackie and Blizzard all start to support Linux development, Linux will never be a viable alternative.

Linux is a great OS for basic stuff. That's why it makes a lot of gains in netbooks, because that's a computer for simple stuff. Beyond that, where are the games? the multimedia production? driver support?

Let me be clear, this is not the fault of Linux, this is the fault of third parties. But until those third parties see a valid reason for porting their software and hardware drivers to work with Linux, it can't ever be a fully viable alternative to Windows.

Cue Hanna-Barbera "double-take" SFX (0, Redundant)

xigxag (167441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678441)

MS still fits the bill (e.g. Being the most popular platform,

I initially scanned that as:

MS still fits the bill (e.g. Bing the most popular platform,

and was like...huh, since when???

Re:I hope Microsoft gets stuffed by Google (1)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678547)

being popular does not beget a monopoly: it's good business execution.

Re:I hope Microsoft gets stuffed by Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28678013)

When the web devs of the world unite, just code to standards and refuse to hack around IE bugs you will be left to browse a broken web.

Re:I hope Microsoft gets stuffed by Google (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678171)

...But they also have contracts with all the OEMs that make it so they can't bundle non-MS things with their machines or advertise non-MS systems otherwise MS increases the price of Windows to them that it becomes unprofitable to run a business. Add that in with a relatively stupid population that can't or won't install anything other than the defaults due to FUD by the media or by outdated experiences.

And for a post about how many browsers there are, you need to look more in depths at reports. Sure, Firefox seems to be lagging behind, but there are a ton of other browsers rather than IE, Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc.

Re:I hope Microsoft gets stuffed by Google (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678369)

...But they also have contracts with all the OEMs that make it so they can't bundle non-MS things with their machines or advertise non-MS systems otherwise MS increases the price of Windows to them that it becomes unprofitable to run a business. Add that in with a relatively stupid population that can't or won't install anything other than the defaults due to FUD by the media or by outdated experiences. And for a post about how many browsers there are, you need to look more in depths at reports. Sure, Firefox seems to be lagging behind, but there are a ton of other browsers rather than IE, Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc.

Well, first, my version of windows came with many non MS products (trust me i wish it didn't) - including McAffee, Norton, AOL, Roxio and more
NOt sure about your statement proving that MS makes it unprofitable for a company to sell non-MS OS with their computers. Dell is one of the largest computer retailers and you can get ubuntu with their computers (http://www.dell.com/home/laptops#subcats=&navla=&a=51800~0~1932545).

I bought a desktop last November and had the option to get it with linux, XP, Vista, or no OS. It came from a "small" mom-n-pop shop. Windows cost me extra (OEM version).

I know about the other browsers, but wasn't going to list each one --- most people on /. know about them. I don't like Opera, not yet sold on Chrome enough to make the change from FireFox, I don't like Safari either. So for me, right now, it's between FireFox and IE but i am sticking with FF out of convenience.

So not sure where you got your "facts" unless it is an outdated one.

Re:I hope Microsoft gets stuffed by Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28677913)

If you had been talking about anything other than M$ you would be a -1 Troll.

M.A.D. (4, Funny)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677751)

The only way to win is... CTRL+ALT+DELETE

Re:M.A.D. (5, Funny)

mu51c10rd (187182) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677827)

The only way to win is... to not install either OS?

Re:M.A.D. (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678007)

The only way to win is... to not install either OS?

OSX86 FTW? ;)

Re:M.A.D. (1)

xdor (1218206) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678367)

Only if you're running Windows

It's dirty software I tells you dagnabbit! (4, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677769)

Edison used to say that Tesla's newfangled alternating current was dangerous, unstable and just plain dirty electricity. I guess that's why a hundred years later, we don't use it anymo- oh wait.

Re:It's dirty software I tells you dagnabbit! (1)

heffrey (229704) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678075)

We don't use AC in the data centre for exactly those reasons!

Competition (4, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677781)

How is competition between brands not good for the customer?

Re:Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28678257)

Because they might actually have to learn a thing or two about operating systems and the differences between them to have a chance at making a satisfying decision when choosing one. And what do we geeks do when the consumer no longer needs to pay us exorbitant amounts of money to click through the Windows installation screens?

war (3, Insightful)

brenddie (897982) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677783)

Nothing like a little war to advance the state of technology.

Competition (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677803)

I for one am pleased that another company is attempting to take a slice of the OS market. Competition will bring innovation and invention. Maybe we'll actually start to see something NEW emerge and not just recycled ideas.

With any luck, Google and MS will battle it out for a long time in the OS department.

So competition is bad? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28677815)

Nothing good will come of it? When has competition ever been a bad thing?

Cringley noise (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677835)

The dude probably knows a thing or two about useless noise.

Mutually Assured Destruction? I think not... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28677843)

I don't think the author of the summary understands the meaning of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).

If the MAD policy were in effect and "shots" were being fired, both companies would fall...

If by MAD the author presumes that Google will somehow be able to use its operating system as an assault on Windows, that would also assume that Microsoft could/would use Windows as an assault on Google AND since Google cannot reciprocate in kind, Microsoft would somehow have the ability to kill off Google currently. The day Microsoft hardcodes into Windows the inability to access Google, that'll be the day Microsoft Windows officially begins its death spiral...

I just don't see this analogy making sense...

Re:Mutually Assured Destruction? I think not... (4, Insightful)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677967)

Me neither.

What Google s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, has to fear more than anything else is that heâ(TM)ll awake one day to learn that the Google search engine suddenly doesn t work on any Windows computers: something happened overnight and what worked yesterday doesnâ(TM)t work today. It would have to be an act of deliberate sabotage on Microsoft s part and blatantly illegal, but that doesnâ(TM)t mean it couldn t happen. Microsoft would claim ignorance and innocence and take days, weeks or months to reverse the effect, during which time Google would have lost billions.

Does he _really_ think Microsoft would do that? How? Some intentionally broken windows update? If they really could do that (and I don't think it's possible in any way), and if they really did that, then:

1 - Google and people all around the world would figure out ways of making google work again in any Windows computer.

2 - Microsoft would drown itself in legal issues in no time.

Re:Mutually Assured Destruction? I think not... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678283)

It's certainly possible, and there are several ways to do it. They could cripple their resolver so any DNS requests for google.com would mysteriously fail. They could screw with the TCP stack to make requests to Google's IP block fail. There are other ways too, those are just the ones I thought of off the top of my head. Getting these changes out to a large percentage of Windows users is simple, since most either have automatic updates turned on, or install updates manually without really digging in to what they do.

You are right though, that MS would never do such a thing. It would utterly ruin their reputation as a company (especially among businesses), and expose them to massive legal liabilities, and they would gain nothing of any use from it.

Google's Chrome is not in a position to compete directly with Windows, and as of now it isn't trying to. I think if Google ever does decide to go after Windows directly, they'll find that a real full-featured modern operating system (not just a glorified web browser) is a lot more difficult to create than they think. Even if they pulled it off, breaking into an OS market dominated by a single player with a huge entrenched base of applications is hard, and even Google may find it more trouble than it's worth. Google may seem huge and unstoppable, but even they have their limits.

Re:Mutually Assured Destruction? I think not... (4, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678009)

In the conclusion of the article the author talks about how Google and Microsoft will not defeat each other, but some third player will storm in with innovative new ideas and steal the show. It's more like Mutually Assured Distraction in that they will be blindsided by some up-and-comer who is more in tune with what end users really need.

Re:Mutually Assured Destruction? I think not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28678383)

The day Microsoft hardcodes into Windows the inability to access Google, that'll be the day Microsoft Windows officially begins its death spiral...

MSFT doesn't have to block Google, just control the "defaults". Updates to IE - which oddly seem more frequent - prompt the user to rejigger their home page. A new IE each year will be at least one opportunity to sell Bing or Live or MS Whatever. Each new PC device - and we will have more of them as they get cheaper - will again require that we set our defaults away from MSFT's selections.

Google pays good money to Mozilla for the Firefox default search engine. The Chrome OS is another avenue to push Google as a default. I don't see this battle so much as MAD but rather one in which only MSFT can lose. After all, the only money at stake is the licensing of OS and productivity software. Would you sit down at a poker table with a $100,000,000,000 pot when you only have to kick in a few dollars?

Right.... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677849)

or, indeed, for consumers. It's just noise -- a form of mutually assured destruction intended to keep each company in check

How is it MAD? MS, try as it might, simply can't make a search engine that is going to be used more than Google's. Google will still lose out to Windows on a few things even with Chrome OS, for one being the large amount of specialty applications out there for Windows.

More importantly... (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677867)

Chrome OS will mark the first "real" year of the Linux desktop. Goodbye X.Org, and good riddance.

Re:More importantly... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677941)

If, by the end of 2010, Chrome is running on anything other than Netbooks (the Google branded version of the OS, not the open source version that is missing a bunch of features), I'll give you $5.

You'll have to track me down though, so I'm probably not risking much.

Re:More importantly... (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678015)

nice X troll, but chrome OS is going to be a way to run an easy way to run google apps, rather than a linux desktop.

Re:More importantly... (1)

Zigurd (3528) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678385)

X client for Chrome OS written using GWT in 3, 2, 1...

Seriously though, Chrome OS will be more hackable than a phone OS, which, in the form of Android is pretty open anyway. So even if Google intends the userland to be primarily running in the Chrome javaScript runtime environment, it seems inevitable that X and general-purpose Linux desktop apps will find their way onto Chrome OS screens.

Chrome OS being open source... (3, Interesting)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677875)

Sure, consumers won't care at first, but the fact that Chrome OS is open source will have, in my opinion, a long term impact on the industry and thus eventually the consumers. Sorry, I would bet Cringely is wrong on that one.

Re:Chrome OS being open source... (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678295)

Exactly.

Cringley seems to feel that this is just a MAD scenario without realizing that:

1) Neither Google nor Microsoft has Nuclear weapons they can blow up the other one with.

2) Ubuntu on Netbooks was the point of the Wedge for getting Linux available as an option from mainstream Computer vendors (Heck DELL was offering it to Customers as a standard option!).

3) Google has a HUGE name recognition for "doing things that work" that might allow them to market Linux to some of the masses ("Hey, Google made it, so its probably good" or "I get my Mail, YouTube and Searching done through them let me try their OS"), MS on the other hand has HUGE name recognition for doing things that make consumers cringe (look at Vista Adoption rates).

If you remember your SATs, think:

Chrome OS : Linux :: OSX : BSD

If Google manages to put something together like that then they might just be able to eat both Apple AND MSs lunch.

Hang on ... (1)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677881)

"a form of mutually assured destruction intended to keep each company in check"

And that's bad? ;-)

Seriously though, the competition between the two is only good if it also increases choice in the sectors where each company is *already dominant*. If MS and Google both have healthy search solutions that we can choose between, that's good. If MS and Google both have healthy OS solutions we can choose from, that's good too. If the two of them merely retain their traditional dominant position whilst rattling sabres and reminding each other they could make a *real* push into one another's core market, that's not really good for anyone other than them. Even if one of those companies maintains their traditional dominant area whilst also creating competition in the others' core competency that has dubious benefits for the market, since it'll imply one big player getting *even bigger*.

One thing that history has shown us and that recent years have shown us again: the status quo will not continue forever. MS are not going to control the OS market *forever* as they have done in the past, ditto for Google in search provision. What's now up for play is how soon these changes happen and whether they empower consumers or take power away from them. Should be fun to watch!

RTFA (2, Insightful)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678025)

I think Cringely's point is that it isn't real competition. Cringely is stating that a cold war of sorts exists between the two companies. Google points it's missiles (chrome browser, chrome OS) at MS, while MS points missiles back (Bing).

Cringely is stating that if one company decided to REALLY attack the other, they would start throwing serious resources into the projects (rather than 20 or 30 engineers they'd throw hundreds), and basically eat each others lunch.

Re:RTFA (1)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678475)

The, admittedly poor, opening joke wasn't really the point I wanted to make. I was commenting on the fact that only *real* competition is valuable to consumers and even then only if *both* companies make a genuine effort to compete on each other's turf. Anything short of genuine competition is of little use to the consumers, although it may be beneficial economically to the customers involved.

Is cringley a microsoft shill ? (3, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677917)

honestly, i dont know whether if he is. he surely sounds like one.

Re:Is cringley a microsoft shill ? (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678523)

Follow the money. Of course he HAS TO BE.

Re:Is cringley a microsoft shill ? (1)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678631)

honestly, i dont know whether if he is. he surely sounds like one.

he's as much an MS shill as you are based on your post. Christ, you fanbois are out in force today.....

And Bing...? (4, Insightful)

openfrog (897716) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677919)

Are not Ballmer intentions to destroy Google notorious ("I will fucking kill them")?

Why should launching a Web OS for netbooks be considered a declaration of war, while launching a search engine (Bing) be considered business as usual?

As another poster wrote, this is called competition and let the better OS win.

Re:And Bing...? (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678315)

Bing is just the latest iteration of Microsoft's search engine. Just a quick glance seems to indicate that "official" search engines from Google and MS have been around since 1998 and 1999, respectively.

Spy vs Spy (2, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677943)

Does this whole thing remind anyone else of Spy vs Spy [wikipedia.org] ? From TFA: "But companies, like people, strive and dream and in this case both dream, at least sometimes, of destroying the other. Only they can't -- or won't -- do it in the end, because it is against the interests of either company to do so."

How riduculous (4, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677975)

FTFA:

The vast majority of Google searches are, of course, done on PCs running Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer. It is not in Googleâ(TM)s real interest to displace these products, which have facilitated so much of its success.

So Google doesn't make money from people running other OS's? Google ads don't appear in my browser when I'm running Ubuntu? Would the Google Chrome OS or browser presumably block its own ads? Now I understand why this has the tag diecringleydie.

isn't that a good thing? (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677981)

a form of mutually assured destruction intended to keep each company in check

But, isn't this what we want? Micorsoft has twenty+ years of uncompetitive behavior and Google is showing an ever increasing disdain for their corporate motto. Something about doing no evil. HA!

So, maybe this is exactly what we need to keep the behemoths reined in.

competition is bad (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678005)

Clearly competition between the two companies is a bad thing. It'll be just like the cold war where both sides made huge technological advances without actually doing any harm to each other or those on the sidelines, very bad news indeed.

Google = Microsoft + Better PR (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678019)

I friend of mine pointed out that Google is just like microsoft in terms of reach and brand awareness, but with a much better PR team. Google has made strides in announcing their stances on various tech-related policies (privacy, net neutrallity, etc.) and that's why people love them. Most, if not all, of their consumer products were made because they saw the frustration with current solutions. They not only improve upon them, but then offer it for free (ad supported, of course). Google's ads are very unintrusive. And more often than not, point you in the right direction. I don't see Google and MS destroying each other. I see Google BUYING MS before this happens.

Re:Google = Microsoft + Better PR (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678267)

MS has pretty good PR. Just not with the Slashdot crowd.

Which is good. Hopefully, Google PR doesn't affect the slashdot crowd either. After all, presumably, the "techies" should be more interested in the truth, not the PR. Whether it comes from Google, Apple, or Microsoft. I hate to break it to any fanboys of any of those three, but they are ALL in it for money. Neither Apple nor Google (and nobody thinks MS is) are altruistic "I just want to be your friend and help you do good things!" companies. :)

Chrome OS and Bing (2, Funny)

Dracos (107777) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678057)

Mutually assured distraction?

Not a war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28678079)

This is a healthy cut throat competion like AMD-Intel, that benefits the consumer.

I think google keeps MS more honest and forced to push new features faster then they might do without them around.

As far as OSs go, MS remains the premier platform for running the vast x86 app space. Chrome doesn't change that.

If it was about a technically superior OS, we would have dumped DOS PCs for Amigas or Macs, or the prop *nixes we had back then.

   

Robert X. +1, Seditious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28678089)

FRINGELY: You are a Microsoft Troll

Yours In Communism,
Kilgore Trout

Google is replacing Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28678115)

Though fashion based marketing might fool you otherwise; Google has replaced Apple as the for-profit alternative to Microsoft. Both Microsoft and Apple are increasingly commodity hosts for Google.

Security an issue with Chrome? (3, Interesting)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678139)

Robert Hansen found a flaw in the first day of using it that Chrome allows Javascript to run in View Source, meaning you can't check potentially harmful pages without Javascript running off. Didn't Chrome market itself as the most secure browser? Anyway IE, Firefox, Safari and Opera all caught this, yet Google missed it with Chrome. I'm sure their new operating system will have tons of neat features just like their browser, but will they miss out on the security end again while boasting they are the most secure? I'll still with my Ubuntu and Firefox for now thank you and avoid both Microsoft and Googles security flaws.

Re:Security an issue with Chrome? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678335)

So you'll just stick with Ubuntu and Firefox's security flaws then...

It's a silly argument to claim that all of their marketing as the most secure browser is totally void because a security flaw is found. *Of course* people are going to find them, and then they'll be patched up.

Linux markets itself as more secure than Windows. So does OS X. Is that somehow void because they, too, have security flaws just like Windows?

Then the beauty of the open source nature of Chrome will mean that security fixes will be available for everyone else who uses the same code, or just available to look at in the source code if you don't use it but are curious.

"Most secure" doesn't mean "immune" - it's a situation we've been dealing with as Mac users for some time now when MS shills like to point and laugh when security flaws are found in OS X. We're not silly enough to think we're immune (at least most of us aren't). (also, note that I'm not calling you a FF or Ubuntu shill, just making a point).

I use FF and Safari about equally, and have a hobby Ubuntu box. My primary machine runs OS X.

Re:Security an issue with Chrome? (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678393)

A mistake in implementation is very different from systematic design problems. Chrome has been designed in a way that even with this code bug it held its own in every hacking competition. desktop linux has its own share of design problems running X as root isn't a serious problem because there are plenty of checks done, however it would be better if X was designed to not need root at all!

Price War! (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678153)

Hopefully, this results in MS making their OS either cheaper, or free and finding another way to make their money that doesn't suck. I expect them to sell space in a cloud OS like everyone else, by and by, since they too seem to share the hallucination of "always connected" internet.

Nothing good can come from Microsoft vs. Google? (1)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678227)

I'm actually really excited about the idea of a Google backed Linux distro (which is what it seems like they're making). They've got the money to hire a team to make a wonderful looking desktop manager while also having the programming know how to make the thing beautifully slim and fast. Plus with Google's backing perhaps there's a chance more software will be ported to/made to run on Linux and perhaps more people will be enticed to try the new "Google laptop" which would just be a netbook running Google's flavor of Linux. I don't see how Google opening up Linux to a larger user base could be a bad thing.

Re:Nothing good can come from Microsoft vs. Google (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678337)

Distros like openSUSE have been cutting staff do to the economy. In many ways, I think the Linux desktop is very close, but still has some obvious warts. Someone with the wallet and clout of Google can squash those warts. We may literally be looking at an OS launching next year that boots in 10 seconds, actually runs fast on a netbook with 1 gig of RAM (as opposed to the Vista Starer basic netbooks it will compete against) and will be vastly more secure.

However, I'm not sure Google is known for advertising. They should hire Apple's advertising firm. One thing I think is brilliant about Apple is their brief commercials where they simply demo a feature. Those iPhone commercials are simple, but brilliant. If Google can market this well, they could have a winner.

Direct attack? I beg to differ (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678255)

..."with the announcement of Google's Chrome Operating System -- a direct attack on Microsoft Windows..."

I do not think so. Microsoft unlike Google, is involved in much more...that is Server and Desktop Operating Systems and Media Players.

Google's move is an indirect attack but not a direct one.

Cringe-worthy analysis (4, Interesting)

Renderer of Evil (604742) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678269)

What Google's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, has to fear more than anything else is that he'll awake one day to learn that the Google search engine suddenly doesn't work on any Windows computers: something happened overnight and what worked yesterday doesn't work today. It would have to be an act of deliberate sabotage on Microsoft's part and blatantly illegal, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen. Microsoft would claim ignorance and innocence and take days, weeks or months to reverse the effect, during which time Google would have lost billions.

Jesus.

This is like bad science fiction, written before the internet was invented - by Dan Brown. Cringely is such a tool.

Re:Cringe-worthy analysis (1)

jvillain (546827) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678637)

Agreed. The fact that he completely misses that Microsoft is under real pressure for the first time ever from more competitors than just Google makes this analysis useless as well. But the key is these two companies aren't trying to keep each other in check. They are to quote Bill Gates "trying to cut off their oxygen supply." That is why Microsoft is targeting Search and Google is targeting office and now the OS.

Attack on Microsoft? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678285)

Chrome the browser wasn't much of an attack on IE. Is Chrome the OS an attack on Windows?

You can argue that Chrome the OS is more likely to cannibalize the Linux and Apple market. Consider that Chrome is supposed to be this fast, sleek, secure OS. It is built upon a posix-compliant kernel with a new windowing system thrown on top. Steve Jobs health is in question, Apple's stock keeps dipping and people are questioning the future of Apple. Honestly, I think Redmond is offended by Chrome. But Cupertino is the company that is more afraid.

Different final targets (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678291)


Windows=Local Desktop
Chrome OS=Internet Desktop

Want Photoshop? Games? (local) Office? virustrojansmailwares? There Microsoft is king.

But want the fastest and more secure full internet based desktop? There that be microsoft or not is not relevant (well, the secure part could matter). You could run Windows, Linux, OS X and you'll get most if not all that will be used thru Chrome OS. What it will be doing is a base reference of speed and security. If Microsoft want to defeat that, should fix those 2 points, not doing a blog campaign all along the media criticizing Google for being big brother, or not being able to run photoshop, or whatever else that they are focusing it leaving away just the 2 critical points that matters there.

What's Good About Google Chrome OS (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678305)

It's hard to believe that the Google Chrome OS will have any short-term effect since it doesn't come out for a year minimum. It's like saying that gasoline prices will change next summer -- who cares now?

The big deal about Chrome is that it will run on ARM, and that's more about breaking the Intel monopoly than the Microsoft monopoly -- which I think is a good thing!

Mutually assured? (1)

frozentier (1542099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678309)

Mutually assured destruction? Hardly. Chrome's guaranteed destruction? Almost guaranteed. Not saying that Microsoft deserves to stay on top, but that's what's going to happen. You would have to have balls made of plutonium to think you could take them down with anything less than endless litigation.

Let the best OS win = Linux (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28678343)

Google "will fucking kill them"! Balmer must be going through a lot of thrown chairs right now :)

Hey anyone remember the Network Computer? (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678395)

The Network Computer [wikipedia.org] was developed by Oracle and partners to take out Microsoft and Microsoft Windows.

The Network Computer was a diskless workstation that used the Internet for storage was supposed to take out or at least compete with Microsoft. It ran things like JavaOS, etc. It eventually flopped.

Oracle eventually bought out Sun, one of the Network Computers partners.

The Chrome OS netbook is basically another Network Computer type scenario, designed to take out Microsoft or at least compete with it. Good luck, but remember that others who did the same thing before have failed. The web browser for the Network Computer was Netscape, the web browser for the Chrome OS is Google Chrome.

If it wasn't for the Mozilla foundation, Netscape code would no longer be used, because Netscape was open sourced as the Mozilla, Seamonkey, and Firefox web browsers, it still exists in some form but the original Netscape is gone.

Chrome OS Direct Attack on Windows (4, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678427)

Here's what would be a "direct attack" on Windows:

Attempting to hack into Microsoft's corporate intranet and delete the source code and documentation for Windows.
Releasing into the wild malware that targets windows installed base and destroys systems that run Windows.

Taking on a project to come up with your own operating system isn't an attack on Windows. It's competition. Windows doesn't have any inherent right to its marketshare.

YOU FAIL IT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28678461)

erosion of user more stable BUWLA, or BSD For the record, .I to this. For about bylaws

MS facilitated Google's success?! (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678621)

The vast majority of Google searches are, of course, done on PCs running Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer. It is not in Googleâ(TM)s real interest to displace these products, which have facilitated so much of its success.

WTF?! You mean if those users were running a different OS and/or browser, they would not have ever had to search for things?

Total bullshit.

I don't have any idea whether or not Google can cut info MS's marketshare, but doing so sure ain't gonna hurt Google's ad revenue. MS doesn't "facilitate" Google at all.

You could even argue that if it weren't for Microsoft, there would be more overall internet usage, since if you do happen to use Microsoft products, you've got to be pretty reckless to connect your box to the Internet. It's a risky thing to do. (Counterpoint: Nobody actually cares about the risks, and they do it anyway.)

That's just crazy talk. (4, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678639)

If it wasn't for Google Chrome and Firefox, we would still be using IE6.

If it wasn't for Linux, there would probably not nearly the investment in Vista and Win7 that there has been.

And, I guarantee you, that if there were no Linux free IDEs, there would be no Visual Studio Express. I doubly guarantee you, that, if there was no gcc, there would be no standards compliant C++ in Visual Studio.

Google may not conquer the world with Chrome OS, and I think will ultimately lose to Microsoft, but, competition benefits everyone.

What will Google do to bolster search to respond to Bing? How will Adobe respond to Silverlight... you can laugh at Silverlight 1.0, dismiss 2.0, but MS has away of just chugging away like the borg when they want to attack a market.

It's all bound to keep people on their toes. What would be the alternative? A treaty between Google and Microsoft keeping each other in the browser and desktop, respectively? That would suck.

Makes more sense than Cringely lets on (3, Interesting)

Zigurd (3528) | more than 5 years ago | (#28678653)

Chrome OS fills a number of needs. Whether these turn out to be the needs of end-users remains to be seen, but Chrome OS is not just some industry giants engaging in a slanging match:

1. Chrome OS will help segment Atom from Pentium and Core. That's a pretty big need right there, for Intel, anyway.

2. It could fill a not-yet-filled void: There is a very good chance Chrome will end up dominating netbook Linux the way Android is on the way to dominating handset Linux. Android is a really nice system, and deserves to win versus most other mobile Linux alternatives. Android is accelerating the use of Linux in handsets. Chrome might be that much better than other netbook Linuxes that it, too, ends up dominating and expanding it's market segment.

3. OEMs have been porting Android to devices that may not be the best match for Android. Chrome OS is a better answer than diluting or de-focusing Android to make it a more universal OS.

4. It completes the strategic picture for GWT, Gears, and Chrome: Google has a multi-layered strategy to make their applications run on any OS and any browser. If GWT and Gears on IE on Windows 7 are one end of the spectrum, Chrome OS is the other end. Microsoft has an OS platform where they can integrate search and the cloud and local applications. Now Google does, too.

I would not be surprised to see an Android application runtime on Chrome OS, alongside the browser/JavaScript runtime.

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