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Is Google the New Microsoft?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the Imitation-is-the-best-form-of-flattery dept.

Google 492

ericjones12398 writes "Google's come up with its solution for Dropbox: If you can't buy 'em, copy 'em. The search engine and online advertising giant replaced its popular Google Docs service with Google Drive, a cloud computing storage service designed to directly compete with start up Dropbox. This raises the question, has Google become the new Microsoft? Us ancient folk who remember the 1990s and the Microsoft anti-trust trial can certainly notice some parallels. A big, dare we say monolithic, company doesn't bother innovating on its own. It just waits for other companies to innovate, makes some changes for legally significant distinctions and enters into competition with the innovator. Sound familiar?

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Let's just say (0, Troll)

PuercoPop (1007467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908365)

That if Microsoft was a human and google a pig we wouldn't see much difference between the two

Re:Let's just say (5, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908407)

Google is not yet in Microsoft's league of indecency. Microsoft, just to remind you, is a convicted abusive monopolist. Google has not reached monopoly status anywhere significant. Some of us are keeping our eyes open, and still recognize the difference between a human (Google) and a pig (Microsoft).

Re:Let's just say (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908443)

Let's also remember that Microsoft also blatantly stole. Remember Stacker?

that was a patent issue (5, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908535)

It wasn't so much they stole as they infringed on patents.

Stac felt their patents covered software Microsoft bought from Vertisoft, improved upon and rolled into MS-DOS.

Stac was found to steal from MS though.

Re:that was a patent issue (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908769)

most conveniently forget that last bit

Re:Let's just say (5, Insightful)

Rob Y. (110975) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908557)

Not to mention that, in Google's case, they came to prominence through some real innovation. Microsoft borrowed an OS, scammed IBM, copied WordPerfect, strong-armed OEMs into bundling their apps with the OS, lied to the DOJ, etc. Google came up with an innovative way to monetize the internet without ruining it, and so far they haven't strayed too far afield.

Now that Google's a public company, though, their 'Don't Be Evil' ethic is harder to square with Wall Street's poisonous demand for increasing stock prices at all costs. So sure, we ought to be wary, but I think Google's actually trying to compete as fairly as possible. And I don't think it's Dropbox they're cloning. They have this little competitor named Microsoft that would like nothing more than to neutralize their business model by giving away its own Dropbox clone - not to mention patent suits (and spending billions cloning Google's primary business), etc. Remember 'suck the air out' of your competitors business model? That was a Microsoft expression.

Re:Let's just say (5, Insightful)

Katakaa (2632969) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908643)

Google has not really done any innovation after their search engine and advertising platform. Everything else they have bought off from other startups. Google Maps and Earth come from KeyHole Inc. [wikipedia.org] . YouTube was its own startup before Google bought them, just like Android was too. Chrome is based on work done by Apple. Orkut was bought. Hell, their whole business depends on using other peoples content.

The point being, Google has really left themselves go after the one initial project the founders did at university. Which is fine I guess, but people keep believing they are some kind of innovative company. They are not. Even Microsoft is more that than Google, as they have the largest R&D center on planet, Microsoft Research.

Re:Let's just say (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908781)

Google has not innovated. They are a fast follower with a big bank roll. Like Microsoft's office suit, their undeniably excellent search platform lets them weave new technologies in for an unbeatable combination. For example, their maps or online doc or shopping search or payment systemed were no better than what others offered, but they were easy to get to from any place in the googlesphere.

The one area one can give a credit to them is refining the implementation of active online web pages. Their work on Ajax and things like google gears made the browser more of an app backed by a huge database.

There is a certain irony to this move to more active web page portals however. They become unsearchable and unlinkable. Thus while the google sphere grows more integrated it becomes more of a walled garden. Worse it can't search other walled gardens like facebook.

Google page rank and text ads was a break through but everything else has just been due to the wads of cash and monopolistic leveraging of services by "integration".

Re:Let's just say (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908471)

Not quite. Microsoft is indeed a convicted abusive monopolist. Honestly they've been a lot better lately - mostly due to being forced to follow standards by market forces (not through any intrinsic "goodness"). Microsoft never wanted to know everything about you in order to sell advertisements. Google on the other hand wants all your data and wants it now. (disclaimer: I use most of Google's services - perhaps foolishly). We do need to watch out for Google as they are becoming the next "evil facebook". Actually the two that have become worse than MS lately are Google and Apple. (One for collecting and warehousing all your information, one for trying to lock out hobbyists with their closed ecosystem).

Re:Let's just say (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908621)

Microsoft is better lately? Yeah, right. Except when it comes to suing people and companies for writing their own code to turn "bigfilename.txt" into "BIGFIL~1.TXT" and therefore being able to interface with their OS, which is only needed because they have an ill gained market dominance.

Better indeed.

Re:Let's just say (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908659)

Microsoft is better lately? Yeah, right. Except when it comes to suing people and companies for writing their own code to turn "bigfilename.txt" into "BIGFIL~1.TXT" and therefore being able to interface with their OS, which is only needed because they have an ill gained market dominance.

Well that's how patents work. You mean to say you cannot think of any other way to do that?

Re:Let's just say (-1, Troll)

Katakaa (2632969) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908501)

I hope you realize how hilarious it always sounds when someone says "convicted monopolist". It's pretty much a joke already.

Nevertheless, Google is not the new Microsoft. They are way worse than that. Not only do they use every anti-competitive and abusive trick in the book, they violate everyones privacy and collect tremendous amount of data. Everyone in the industry knows this, and it is clearly visible via their Analytics tool to everyone. Not only do they track what you search, but their javascripts are embedded on billions of websites. These scripts gather info for Google about what you do, including all keystrokes, mouse movements and clicks. It amounts to stalking. They know exactly what you did on specific page. Including text that you wrote and later removed. Don't think this is possible? Watch Visitor Recording [youtube.com] . Google has the same piece of code in place.

Re:Let's just say (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908605)

Dude, are you really trying to make UID counter overflow? Your last failed sockpuppet [slashdot.org] is just a few hours old. I'm sure you can lost longer than that.

Re:Let's just say (3)

Deep Esophagus (686515) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908637)

OK, I give up. What am I seeing here that should fill me with outrage? The fact that the web server knows someone visited the site and clicked repeatedly on a nonfunctional button? Sure, they have an IP address to go with that (unless you use an anonymizer), but there are so many more blatant abuses of my privacy that stuff like this doesn't even move the needle on my outrage-o-meter.

I also fail to see the connection with Google here. Any idiot can include an onkeydown event trap in their script. Heck, I can do that and I'm exceptionally stupid.

I do wonder about the scalability of such an enterprise, though. Assume 10-20 clicks per visit, plus a few dozen keystrokes if they start and/or complete a form... add to that the need to tie every keystroke and click to an IP address, and pretty soon you're talking about serious storage when your daily hit count is in the millions.

Of course they are (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908583)

Google is not yet in Microsoft's league of indecency. Microsoft, just to remind you, is a convicted abusive monopolist. Google has not reached monopoly status anywhere significant.

Google is probably at least as dominant in several on-line fields as Microsoft ever was: search (traditional Google), video hosting (YouTube), and mapping/geographical data (Google Maps) come immediately to mind. I don't know how dominant Google Mail is as a hosted webmail provider these days, but that might be a candidate too. And then there are all kinds of smaller/niche areas where Google has been developing and/or buying up early players, though the trend does seem to be much more about consolidation and focus since the change in leadership.

On top of that range of dominant services, there is far more potential for Google to use leverage from an existing dominant service to further its efforts artificially in another market, with the on-line advertising where it makes its real money being a prime example.

So I think you're objectively incorrect that Google is not yet in the same league as Microsoft were. They are actually some way beyond where Microsoft had got to, it's just that no-one has called them on it in court yet. That could simply be because there is no-one left to compete credibly and no-one new brave/foolish enough to try to disrupt a market where Google is already the dominant player, which is in practice almost the definition of a monopoly.

Re:Of course they are (2)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908737)

On top of that range of dominant services, there is far more potential for Google to use leverage from an existing dominant service to further its efforts artificially in another market, with the on-line advertising where it makes its real money being a prime example.

There is potential for leverage, but MS has actually been convicted for using a leverage.
How that leaves them in the same league, I fail to see.

Re:Let's just say (1, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908675)

Google has not reached monopoly status anywhere significant

Google has 67% of the US search market and in other Western countries it has up to 94% of the market. If it walks like a monopoly and quacks like a monopoly...

"Us ancient folk who remember the 1990s" might recall a tactic that Microsoft employed at one point. It acquired the rights to a piece of technology developed elsewhere, a piece of technology that looked like it would be particularly useful in the exploding market known as "the World-Wide Web", and then gave it away for free to get people using it. It was able to do this because it had a monopoly in one industry, and it wanted to use that domaince to ensure that it would have a headstart in another.

For a more recent example of this tactic, see Android.

Re:Let's just say (4, Informative)

BZWingZero (1119881) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908749)

Having a monopoly (at least in the US) is not illegal. Abusing that monopoly is. Bundling IE and tying it deeply into the OS is what got Microsoft in trouble.

Re:Let's just say (1)

martiniturbide (1203660) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908777)

When Google starts using "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu to train its sale force, we will know it had reached the Microsoft level.

Is Apple the new Microsoft? (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908467)

Is Google the new Microsoft that was replaced when Apple became the new Microsoft?

Hold it. Doesn't Google run most of their stuff on Linux?

Is Linux the new Apple?

"Is X the new Y" a way for people without much background or information to fill up a few inches of column space in a hurry?

How about we just ignore any "is X the new Y" from today onwards? Okay?

hi bonch! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908469)

Another wonderful anti Google story - bravo!

Gotta get paid!

Re:Let's just say (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908609)

Google is more like a chicken: they avoid liability by making their products "beta", and they avoid customer support by making their products free.

Re:Let's just say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908687)

Exactly as a chicken would do...

Really, Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908367)

Is this Slashdot or Mashable?

Re:Really, Slashdot? (5, Funny)

readandburn (825014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908397)

The better snarky post would have been: "Is Slashdot the new Mashable?"

It sounds familiar, because (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908523)

It's the same story people have been writing for years.

Google as the Next Microsoft [slashdot.org] .

If you in fact Google Slashdot with the words Microsoft and Google, you'll find hundreds of results because people have been saying it for years.

Yes (0, Troll)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908369)

2002 I stopped using Microsoft.
2012 I stopped using Google.

Re:Yes (2)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908427)

I stopped using Google free services once they required my cell number to post videos to my very popular youtube channel. So I removed all the videos and deleted the channel http://www.youtube.com/altgro [youtube.com] I'm still stuck using search but I can live with that for now.

Re:Yes (0)

doom (14564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908547)

I'm still stuck using search but I can live with that for now.

You don't need to use google to do web searches. I've been using blekko.com as my main search for some time.

Of course, if you want to watch silly flash videos it's hard to get away from youtube, but at least there's other sites you can post them, if that's what you're into. Whether other people will see them now that google has changed it's "video" search to a "youtube" search it's debatable whether someone else can find them...

(Google, playing lock-in games? But that would be evil.)

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908739)

DOY.. 911-555-1212

How easy is that...

liar liar bonch on fire (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908497)

Who pays you to write these comments? It's so fucking obviously paid shilling.

Re:liar liar bonch on fire (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908539)

Facebook [rt.com]

Re:liar liar bonch on fire (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908697)

Facebook were only the ones that have been caught. It's fairly obvious that there are more companies involved.

Re:Yes (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908543)

2002 I stopped using Microsoft. 2012 I stopped using Google.

2022 stopped using porn, started using viagra.

Microsoft? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908373)

Sounds more like Apple

True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908375)

I thought that was the basic business model, lie, steal, cheat, and manipulate what you can to make the most profit...

Re:True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908393)

True, but as long as 'someone' keeps innovating it's okay right?

Short Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908385)

Kind of a trollish article, but since the question was asked...

Yes, Google is the new Microsoft.

Re:Short Answer (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908589)

I dunno. The only products which have really made my jaw drop in the last decade have come directly from Google (Earth, Street View, ...etc)

Everything else has been pretty much evolutionary.

Patexia (4, Interesting)

Internal Modem (1281796) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908389)

I don't know, but Patexia seems to be a front for someone according to the bias in all of their articles over the past 2 years as seen by a Google search.

Since Google wasn't the first search engine (5, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908391)

They just stole from Excite?

They stole email from hotmail?

Please, on a site that bitches about patents blocking innovation we are bitching about a company seeing an idea and building their own now?

Re:Since Google wasn't the first search engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908483)

Yes, because /. wants pageviews regardless of how dumb a "provocative" story is. I will point out, however, that this is nothing new and shouldn't be confused with the business stank it's been growing recently.

Re:Since Google wasn't the first search engine (4, Interesting)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908513)

Yes, even their Search Engine wasn't really that novel.

But Google does still innovate. Actually, looking at web tech (Google main area of expertise) I think people's biggest complaint is that Google innovates too much.

Everybody knows about Chrome, but that is just the beginning - Google has been pushing at every boundary of the web.

Of all of them, I think Dart sound very interesting. I'm impressed that they managed to come up with a new language that has all the modern language features that developers are after, while still maintaining a form of compatibility with Javascript (and therefore all browsers).

And, since this article is about comparing Google to MS, let me point out that this couldn't be further from MS's attempt to change the web. ActiveX was proprietary and non-Web in every way. Dart is both compatible with the existing web (through it's ability to generate js) and is open and unencumbered.

Re:Since Google wasn't the first search engine (5, Insightful)

fish waffle (179067) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908747)

Yes, even their Search Engine wasn't really that novel.

Actually it was. Well, not in technology but in presentation. While AltaVista and Yahoo were busily making their results load slower and slower, burdened with popups, animations, and ever-encroaching side, top and bottom bars full of ads, google offered a greatly simplified presentation---one well-contained banner ad at the top, and maybe a couple, well-identified sponsored results. The result was extremely usable when the industry trend was in the opposite direction.

Unfortunately, they have since begun a slow amble down the same path as past search engines, not necessarily purely in ad density, but nevertheless packing more and more useless crap and visual bling into the search results. An essential difference, however, is that despite having bloated up the loading of results with dozens of ajax callbacks, they've invested in an extensive and truly impressive infrastructure that can keep up with the weighty result pages they end up creating. At least so far.

Dropbox an innovater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908401)

What? Why do you say that? Online file storage being accessible way pre-dates Dropbox.

Google deciding it's worthwhile to do...what next, you going to harangue them for their on-line mail service too?

Re:Dropbox an innovater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908481)

What? Why do you say that? Online file storage being accessible way pre-dates Dropbox.

Inventing and innovating are not necessarily the same thing.

Re:Dropbox an innovater? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908555)

What? Why do you say that? Online file storage being accessible way pre-dates Dropbox.

Inventing and innovating are not necessarily the same thing.

So what did dropbox innovate?

Re:Dropbox an innovater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908595)

Your logic was that something pre-dated something else, therefore implying it wasn't innovative. I think that's what he/she means.

That depends... (5, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908403)

Are Google enforcing proprietary formats, bundling products to the detriment of their competition, and 'reinterpreting' standards such that third party options no longer interoperate properly? Although MS have been forced to improve more recently, I think that style of business was always the main problem that people had with them. Throwing another option into the marketplace without any element of coercion is fine by me, even if it is just a copy - genuine competition keeps everyone on their toes.

Re:That depends... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908651)

Yes.

Re:That depends... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908661)

They are using their dominance in search engines and mobile OS's to push their other products (ie chrome, google maps, etc.) and undercut the competition. Their business model allows them to provide "free" products (though customers loose privacy by using such products) and nudge out the competition (who actually have to charge customers for their products).

Re:That depends... (0)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908681)

No, you're thinking of Apple. You can also add "trying to raise prices even for those that don't buy into their walled garden" with their attempts at magazine subscriptions and e-books. The "can't change less on another platform" should have set them up for a nice anti-competition investigation.

Re:That depends... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908711)

Are Google enforcing proprietary formats

I don't know what you mean by "enforcing", but I suspect you're asking the wrong question.

When you host all your users' data anyway, as Google services typically do, it doesn't matter all that much what format you're using to store the data internally. What matters is whether your users can readily get access to their own data and interoperate with other products/services that use that data.

Have you ever tried to get a document or spreadsheet out of Google Docs and into one of the other on-line office suites? How about exporting your entire Google Mail archive and importing it into Hotmail?

bundling products to the detriment of their competition

Well, their entire network of services just changed its privacy policy to allow them to share data everywhere, and their advertising is targeted based on the data they are collecting on all those other services, which sounds a lot like bundling services to me. I don't know about "to the detriment of their competition", because who is the serious competition to Google Ads? Even the mighty Facebook, who has a somewhat similar MO, don't run an advertising network that is widely used on other web sites.

and 'reinterpreting' standards such that third party options no longer interoperate properly?

Apart from the numerous extensions and proprietary features going into their browser, exactly like what Microsoft and Netscape did back in the day? And violating assorted technical standards for serving web sites in the interests of getting faster performance for their page loads? And then there's things like SPDY and WebM.

Of course, you could reasonably argue that this is digital evolution in action and will make the Internet a better place in the long run, but then you could have made a reasonable argument that Microsoft Office and IE6 initially won their long-term dominance by being better than their competition in much the same way. At the time they won, they were great products, too. The stagnation and ultimately the legacy burden only comes later, when there's nothing left to offer credible competition and drive innovation in the market.

Singing the Blues (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908405)

I remember when Microsoft was the refreshing, freedom-loving alternative to Big Blue.

My how times have changed.

Re:Singing the Blues (1, Informative)

Blymie (231220) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908437)

That was never the case, ever.

Re:Singing the Blues (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908627)

It was long ago, but I remember it.

Re:Singing the Blues (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908499)

I remember when Microsoft was the refreshing, freedom-loving alternative to Big Blue.

Yes, that was from 1975 all the way until 1976 [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Singing the Blues (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908521)

I remember when Microsoft was the refreshing, freedom-loving alternative to Big Blue.

My how times have changed.

I am intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. /s

Re:Singing the Blues (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908773)

I remember when Microsoft was the refreshing, freedom-loving alternative to Big Blue.

When exactly was that?

I remember when Microsoft was the significantly cheaper alternative to Big Blue, HP, and other companies that could only sell you mainframes, mini computers, related software, and ridiculously expensive maintenance contracts. But "refreshing" and "freedom-loving"? I don't remember that part at all.

If Google's changes are trivial, are DropBox's? (5, Insightful)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908417)

Come on, let's not overromanticize DropBox here. They didn't invent the online storage business either. There were several companies in it during the .com boom, even Apple got into it before DropBox (and back out).

DropBox entered into a business which is less a business dependent on client software but more on network infrastructure, something Google excels at.

So just to ask, when was Google the first into a market? Not search. Not ads. Not mail. Not voice (they bought Grand Central).

They're the same as they ever were. They aren't first, but sometimes they do a better job or change up the business model.

Re:If Google's changes are trivial, are DropBox's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908665)

They certainly didn't invent it, not least because their service is a shell for Amazon S3.

No. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908419)

Can we moderate stories yet? Please? Can't we mark shit like this a -1 Troll?

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908449)

No

Have we forgotten the order? (5, Funny)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908423)

Google is the new Apple.
Apple is the new Microsoft.
Microsoft is the new IBM.
IBM is the new Xerox.

It's not just that (4, Insightful)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908431)

I still remember GMail offering 1-2Gb when the competition had a maximum of 50mb (or thereabouts). GMail blew away the competition back in the day.

Fast-forward to today, G+ is several years too late to the market, and Google Drive offers less space than the 25Gb SkyDrive users have had for years and hardly anything worth even mentioning functionality wise. And don't get me started on the Ts&Cs about data privacy - there's a reason you'll never see a private cloud solution from Google - they want _all_ your data or they're not interested.

Google has a great search engine and have done some great web-apps before (gmail, google maps) but everything else just seems a bit "meh" at best at the moment.

Re:It's not just that (2)

quippe (767072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908491)

A big meh like the self-driving car, or getting the linux kernel with android on several millions of smartphones made by dozens of different producers?

Re:It's not just that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908525)

SkyDrive offers 7gb of space nowadays, not 25. Old users can get a 'trial run' of the 25gb, but that's all. Also, not years, but a year. Now stop lying.

Re:It's not just that (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908679)

Old users get the 25gb upgrade permanently, not as a trial. And yes, "years." Skydrive has been 25GB since 2008 [lifehacker.com] .

Maybe someone saw the article I posted yesterday (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908445)

Posted under the exact same title - "Is Google the New Microsoft" - but I referenced an article written by Rory O'Connor [aljazeera.com] in (of all places) Al Jazeera. It was in the "recent articles" queue for about five minutes, then disappeared. Maybe it triggered the "Islamic propaganda" filter?

BTW the O'Connor article is quite good, he draws the parallel quite well. O'Connor was the managing editor of a counter-culture arts weekly in Boston called the Real Paper which had a nice run during the '70s.

Thieves of theives of theives etc. (4, Funny)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908451)

Because Dropbox was a totally innovative startup, and nobody, NOBODY ever thought of some sort of way of remotely storing files before, no siree! And certainly noone ever had even the slightest idea that synchronising files between different machines could be a useful idea.

Re:Thieves of theives of theives etc. (1)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908551)

Dropbox was not the first, they won't be the last. First app I ever used to sync files between machines was X-Drive. Remember them? It was great. This was back when you couldn't download anything free without a ton of spyware though. This one was no exception. Too bad. Dropbox is a good service. Don't get me wrong, but the idea has been there since the beginning of the web, practically, so you can't really call it new or innovative.

Re:Thieves of theives of theives etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908615)

Exactly!
Yahoo! Briefcase, foldershare.com -> Became Windows Live Mesh, Various clients that mapped FTP servers as folders / drives, some others I've used that I don't even remember. . . I think intranet.com/.net?
These are just the ones I've used. Dropbox was not the first, they were just the best. They were easy to use, they didn't require one of your machines to be online like foldershare.com, and they made it SUPER easy to share files with even your technophobic grandmother. Their innovation and reason for success was the client, NOT the service.

Maybe, maybe not. (5, Informative)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908459)

All big companies do this. It's not proof that Google is Microsoft. It's proof that Google is big. What made Microsoft distinct was the way it competed. Google doesn't compete with the same level of carnage that Microsoft did. There has been some bloodshed, but the fact that Google+ is where it is, would be a good way to demonstrate the argument that Google is not Microsoft. Have there been allegations of predatory behavior? Yes, of course. Do you hear about it happening all the time? Not really. Google drive is kind of like Dropbox, but Amazon Drive is a lot more like Dropbox. Why is everyone talking about Google, when Amazon stole the service and copied it lock, stock, and barrel? Amazon is Dropbox's ISP for hosting this stuff. And yet, despite the fact that the case of Amazon is predatory, everyone's so concerned about the case of Google, which isn't? Why, exactly do people who care about predatory business practices care more about Google than Amazon? The mind boggles.

I dont think they are (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908461)

No one can invent everything, and i still see Google producing new stuff all the time. They would be a fool not to pick up on trends, and include them in their 'suite' of offerings to remain relevant.

They are also not waiting until the last minute to adopt things, and then do it 1/2 assed, like Microsoft tends to do.

Re:I dont think they are (1)

unclebob79 (2614633) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908575)

They are also not waiting until the last minute to adopt things, and then do it 1/2 assed, like Microsoft tends to do.

What about G+ then?

Like every tech company that's worth something (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908537)

IT is a field that is changing rapidly, and if you stick to only one service you may soon find yourself out of business. Therefore, big tech companies try to get a hold in every promising new market segment. Which is exactly how capitalism should work, developing a multitude of services for the users to choose from. Dropbox didn't invent renting online storage, and neither did Megaupload, it has been there long before them. The only difference is that they offer a limited bait service for free, and they have renamed it "cloud". And that hardly classifies as 'innovation' that could be copied. The author basically has problems that another company dares to compete with his favourite startup, raising shilling to a whole new level.

Not in the same league. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908553)

Google does not have the same evil gene as Microsoft.

Posting as AC because until recently I used to work there. Words cannot express the hate and revulsion I feel for that company. Microsoft employees are truly on a different planet. They seem to really believe that the world outside Microsoft does not exist; that standards do not matter; that Microsoft itself gets to set the direction for everyone else. Even in areas where Microsoft is not even a player (e.g. scientific computing), they act as if their own obscure contributions (PowerShell; their HPC thing for clusters) are where it's really at. People will tell you with a completely straight face that Microsoft web-hosting solutions dominate the market; or that MSN search was at one time the leading provider of search-- and these assertions are for the most part not questioned by others. Anyway, there's no point really trying to express why I hate that company so much. I could go on for literally days. It's a gut thing.

WTF? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908559)

Doesn't seem to know much about the products.

GOOG drive: great online office apps, can also store other stuff. No linux client (so far, or maybe forever, who knows). More space that DB

Dropbox: No built in file viewer/editor for office type apps. Excellent free linux client (no kidding, just install, start, it works. No memory leaks. No bugs. No weirdness. Just freaking works. Nice job guys)

Analysis: dropbox is the base product, beaten across all fronts. GOOG Drive is online office storing on the drive, now storing any file you'd like too. GOOG also has more space. If you use linux you can't use goog drive, so I don't, otherwise it beats dropbox across the board.

Both have nuts TOS etc, so just act like you're posting everything public to the whole world, and assume they'll steal ownership of anything you give them access to. Oddly enough, this doesn't reduce their usefulness very much at all, at least to me.

Online storage is a commodity. Its purefanboyism or audio-phoolism to claim your 1s and 0s sound better if you store your bits on Seagate drives or Western Digital drives. You're better off claiming that drawing a green marker on your ethernet cable makes your cloud stored mp3s sound better. Ditto GOOG or DB for storing 1s 0s over IP. Sounds like GOOG wins across the board unless you've got linux then its unusable so DB as the only serious entrant wins.

So far... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908561)

Google has not cut off Microsofts air supply.
Google+ is done even though Windows runs. ...

Yes and no. (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908563)

I've said this before. All three companies are/were monopolies formed from the ideologies of three of the major desktop computer players:
* Microsoft/Gates.
* Apple/Jobs.
* Google/Wozniak (but with better marketing savvy).

Re:Yes and no. (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908653)

Wrong, only Microsoft has a monopoly and has been convicted of being a monopolist. Just because the other two are big doesn't mean they are what you think they are. Apple for instance never forces their hardware on you. Whereas MS forced their software on hard makers and Google force G+ on people.

Re:Yes and no. (1)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908667)

Woz has a sense of humor and people skills. When I picture Google, I picture a bunch of superbright guys with the social dexterity - and empathy - of an Aspergers support group.

Google has one approach to everything now: get superbright guys to code up a technically nifty solution to a problem that no-one has, with the aim of collecting info in order to sell advertising, and launch the product without considering for a second how real people in the real world will use it and what those people might actually want. Later, rinse, repeat.

Google Drive is better (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908577)

Google Drive does have some innovated stuff from Docs - it has awesome realtime collaboration, borrowed from Google Wave. I'd say that if you need several people editing a document at the same time, nothing beats Docs.
The only addition Google made to Docs before rebranding it into Drive is the desktop sync feature and bumping up free storage to 5 gigs. I'd say this is minor compared to existing document editing/viewing/collaboration features, which
a) Dropbox doesn't have;
b) Were steadily developed for at least 5 years.

trash can please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908581)

Why was this troll blog post even allowed to show up on main /. page?

Cloud storage, homeland of innovation (1)

caffemacchiavelli (2583717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908585)

Come on, what's innovative about Dropbox?

Yes, the interface is all cute, it runs smoothly and doesn't spam the hell out of me. Still, filesharing isn't new. Syncing isn't new. Coming up with something similar is just what is supposed to happen in a competitive marketplace.

If Google launched a smear campaign against Dropbox and came up with some severely restrictive and sloppy alternative, maybe the comparison would make sense. But so...meh. Btw, I heard Google's financial statements are hard to read. They're totally the new Enron.

typical worthless slashdot hyperbole (1)

Dryanta (978861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908591)

WOW IMAGINE THAT A TECHNOLOGY COMPANY HAS A COOL NEW IDEA AND DOES IT BETTER THAN ANYBODY ELSE DOES... SO LET'S DO IT WITH MOAR MONIES AND BETTAR!!! srsly ericjones12398, should five guys burgers and fries not exist because mc donalds does... and should mc donalds ignore how successful a smaller chain has become? they both serve the same markets with similar products... jack in the box, subway, burger king, taco bell, et. al - are they all 'ripping off' or 'failing to innovate' other ideas?

Love em or hate em (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908617)

Google's Hangout service (which integrates nicely with docs -- now drive) also integrates nicely with YouTube.

Google+ may be "years behind", but Hangouts seems to directly benefit startups by offering a groupware "free" in terms of money that rivals corporate tools today.

All of my source code is mirrored on Google code, and has landed me 8+ contract jobs.

Copying? Yes. Microsoft? Not in my eyes.

What a joke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908629)

This is all a big joke right?

Google inovates every day.

People copy good ideas every day.

Slashdot readers complain about something every day.

The world keeps spinning.

Google is NOTHING like Microsoft ever was (4, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908631)

Microsoft actively battled, and still does, open standards. Google pushes open standards and puts a lot of weight behind them.

Microsoft has always (and was convicted of) using it's monopoly power to force other products and services on users. Even though it has a venerable monopoly on search and online video, Google does NO SUCH THING, in fact they actively open all of their APIs on both platforms and allow ample third party integration.

Microsoft does little more than pay lip service to the open source movement, and has even gone on record to say it's a cancer. Google actively peruses open source, they publish a huge amount of their work under open source licenses, and they put a lot of money into sponsor ships through programs such as the Summer of Code.

People like to give Google a lot of flack for knowing everything about you - HOWEVER Google actually goes out of their way to allow users to have total control over their data. You can log into your Google profile at any time and export all of your data and then delete the profile, leaving no trace. You can opt into having all your data anonymized, and you can opt out of all tracking on their properties, if you choose. Can you do this with Microsoft's products? I mean it is 2012 and you can't even access your hotmail via an open protocol, let alone export your data.

Microsoft and Google have always been polar opposites. All of this recent hatred toward Google is really unjustified.. it's basically perpetuated by people who simply like to vote for the underdog.. previously Google was the underdog, now it is other companies... Google is no longer "cool" and "hip", it is "corporate" and therefore evil... well, evil is relative. Compared to Microsoft, Google is a relative saint.

Competition breeds innovation (1)

Spodi (2259976) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908655)

Like done in any other free market, Google sees an idea with potential, decides they can do it better, and makes their own implementation. They still respect the patented ideas (mostly), and when needed, re-engineer the implementation. This is competition, and without it, things would hardly improve in terms of innovation since there would be little motivation. People should be happy Google spends so much money in trying out new ideas and products instead of just sitting on it and watching it grow.

Big fish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908673)

This is true free marker: the big fish eats the small fish. Google is removing competition. At this step eventually we'll end up with big corps ruling... oh, wait, we already have big corps ruling us, essentially slowly killing democracy. Good luck with that, I'm leaving... oh wait, I can't leave the planet yet.

Not so much (0)

stripes (3681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908677)

Sure, I admit there are similarities. Both are giant greedy companies. Both gobble up competitors, and when they are prevented form that they both launch competing products. I view Google's "Don't be Evil" lip service as about as transparent and self serving as the 1990's and 2000's era MS open source lip service.

On the other hand Google's own products are fairly decent. MS's are largely crap. Most times when MS buys a company the "adopted" products go rapidly to crap. Google's "adopted" products tend to trundle along for a while. MS was a creditable platform vender and most of the assaults on other companies were against those that built on top of MS's own infrastructure. Google has only made one Android related purchase that I can recall. Maybe that is an area ripe for future abuse, but for the moment they have not had their own "it ain't done 'till Word Perfect won't run" moment.

If Google is the new MS, then at least the trains run on time. (most days) It ain't much, but at least it is something.

Google doens't bother innovation on its own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908685)

It's just sound ridiculous.

Microsoft Business Disaster Model (5, Interesting)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908689)

Shamelessly stolen from four years ago [slashdot.org] :

Google now has a full-blown case of the Microsoft Business Disaster Model. This model goes like this:

  • Get a highly profitable monopoly.
  • Watch gigantic sums of cash accumulate.
  • Panic at the thought of actually distributing that cash to shareholders, as the law requires.
  • Start throwing money at any additional product line you can think of, believing that because you got that first profitable monopoly (largely by luck), you are Really Smart, and therefore you can make money at anything.
  • Watch with relief as stockholders don't notice how much of their money you are shoveling into the fire, because your core monopoly is still making huge profits.
  • Spend years telling yourself that having divisions that lose gigantic sums of money for years means you are now a "long term" strategist.
  • Drift slowly into decay like the Soviet Union, still powerful, still important, but internally depressing, wasteful, and decrepit.

The most profitable company this year (2008) was Exxon-Mobil. A company that has to get its hands dirty and actually move a physical product had higher profits than Microsoft, a company that just thinks up bits that it then distributes, largely electronically. Imagine the profits if Microsoft were to sell off all its huge money losers, retain only enough employees to maintain Windows and Office, and pay out all the profits as dividends. It would be the most incredible stock the market had ever seen.

...no? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908695)

This is business as usual for Google. None of their flagship products were straight from the minds of Google, and that's certainly not a bad thing.

Why is it that Google is copying Dropbox? Dropbox was not the first, either. Isn't the whole point of innovation to take something and make it better? Dropbox did that by making cloud storage and syncing far less painless than it currently was. Google can further that goal even farther as the product matures.

This honestly just looks like a weak attack on Google. Would anyone even have cared negatively about a competing product had it been anyone other than Google? We'd probably be applauding the added competition to drive the various cloud storage providers to create better products.

Dropbox VC's share blame. (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908705)

Dropbox needed to get patents in order to be successful .
Blame dropbox VC's not Google.
Google is still aok in my book.
They removed spam from my life, they gave me a free CR-48
and they trust me enough to sell a quality app on their PLAY-app market.

IMHO, all these internet $B companies are too big. Apple, Facebook, et al.
I imagine Congress will smack them like they did Microsoft.
Then I hope they move off-shore to send a message to our stupid leaders to
embrace openness, not their TSA-style future.


Help eliminate stupid speeding tickets [wikispeedia.org]

Stealing is business (4, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908713)

Companies steal - all companies do it. Apple stole from Android, Android stole from iOS, Windows stole from OSX, OSX stole from Windows - it's a never ending circle. Twitter and facebook have both stole from each other, Linux has stole from Unix and so on and so forth.
The companies that don't steal don't innovate either, they just piss off their users because company X has a great feature and the users want it. Eventually those users leave for company X.

If it's a good idea and you're not doing it, then you're doing it wrong.

In some ways, but not really (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908755)

They're similar in that they both seem to fear that some upstart or technology will supplant them so they're constantly moving into areas that have had nothing to do with their core business up to that point (e.g. Microsoft got into browsers because they were afraid of the web replacing Windows, and Google got into social because they were afraid that Facebook would replace search.) and generally done a half-assed effort in those spaces. However, they have had some successes like Android and Xbox so it's not as though these investments can't pay off.

Other than that, the similarities end. Microsoft's abuses make Googles pale in comparison, but as of late Google has definitely been heading down that path. The wi-fi snooping case is starting to look worse and worse for them, and they've been using their search to push their social network so I can see where the comparison's arise. In some ways Google's actions are also probably a little easier to swallow since many of their products or projects are open source which plays well with the community here.

Adding the missing link (1)

MaestroRC (190789) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908761)

I think what a lot of folks here are doing is jumping on the whole "OMGWTFGOOGLESTOLEMYBASEBALL" bandwagon. The reality is, if google's solution is even marginally good at syncing and sharing files (which it appears to be with my limited usage), it has potentially the missing link of a pretty damned good documents toolbox for text, spreadsheet, and presentations.

But let's back up here for a second. Ever since Google has had a documents platform from January 2010 on, they've been in want of an *easy* way to get your documents there. Sure, you could go in, upload them, and then pull them back out later, but that was cumbersome and annoying. You could email them to yourself, but again - cumbersome and annoying. They FINALLY added this ability - and just took a baby step forward to make it a "cloud drive" for all of your documents. Not that big of a deal for them, but a hell of a lot more useful to the average Joe.

I do understand that Dropbox has been around for a while - since 2007 in fact. But they never really picked up until the 2009 timeframe for the average user, and while they've been pretty innovative on the synchronizing front, they've not really expanded out very far. Not to mention, they have a bit of a strange market - They tout themselves as a sort of sharing and backup solution. However, the only reason there even needs to be a "sharing" solution is because emailing larger files can be inconsistent but the means to do so with Dropbox isn't particularly elegant even as they add features to make it easier. And to consider dropbox as a means to "back up" your documents is a bit of a joke when there are far superior services that don't try to get into the "sharing" market (and can therefore create a much better backup solution) that are quite a lot cheaper. I'm looking at you, Crashplan and similar services. Because when I want to back up my computer offsite, I don't want to pick a quite limited-capacity folder to do so.

So really, Dropbox is only particularly better than the competition at sharing files. But as I said, it's not even quite great at that. If Google can step up and put out a product that integrates with email for their millions of users (it does), integrates with Google Docs to persuade people to jump into the cloud documents market (it does), and can not lose your data (Google seems to be pretty good at this) - I'd say that's a *good* thing. Hell, it may even convince Dropbox to continue innovating. And isn't that the idea of free enterprise in the first place?

spoJn6e (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908765)

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