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Microsoft's Nightmare Scenario

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the who-needs-a-pc dept.

Microsoft 362

unityxxx wrote to mention a News.com article about Microsoft's nightmare scenario - the Web as the next platform. From the article: "The nightmare is inching closer to reality and Microsoft execs are apparently paying attention to the decade-old alert. As part of a management shuffle, Microsoft said Tuesday it would make hosted services a more strategic part of the company and fold its MSN Web portal business into its platform product development group, where Windows is developed. Another memo, called 'Google--The Winner Takes All (And Not Just Search),' is also making the rounds. This internal memo, written in 2005, argues that Google threatens Microsoft and the company's crown jewel, Windows."

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Microsoft will be just fine. (5, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630112)


Digging in on the PC platform was a winning strategy, and still is at this point, but the rules will be changing sooner rather than later. When they do, will Microsoft be able to overcome its own inertia and innovate fast enough to stay in the game? Probably not, but the good news for Microsoft is that it doesn't have to...it just has to acquire a company that can. As it's been said ad nauseum here by myself and others, Microsoft isn't about innovation...haven't been for a while...in fact, whether they ever were is a subject for debate.

As for when this paridigm shift will occur, it won't be able to until broadband access is as cheap, plentiful, and above all, dependable as electricity or running water. Givin the fact that many areas of the world are still having issues with those, I'd wager we have a while to wait before the Web-as-platform paradigm really takes off.

Re:Microsoft will be just fine. (0, Offtopic)

cryptoz (878581) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630176)

It's not like we have to wait until everyone gets food and water dependably until we can have nice happy broadband access here in North America. Something like 33,000 young children die every day of long-term hunger, and that hasn't stopped us from having as much broadband as we do. This is not meant to be flaimbait, so don't take it that way. My comment is just that I think that fast, reliable internet will come to the developed world much faster than you think. And while I agree that the change will not cripple Microsoft, I do think that the shift will be in the next few years, judging by the speed and momentum which it has gained recently.

Re:Microsoft will be just fine. (3, Insightful)

rovingeyes (575063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630177)

Microsoft is that it doesn't have to...it just has to acquire a company that can. As it's been said ad nauseum here by myself and others, Microsoft isn't about innovation...haven't been for a while...in fact, whether they ever were is a subject for debate.

As you said it yourself, Microsoft just needs to acquire a company that can mount a challenge against Google. But mind you, not just any company. That means Microsoft have to have enough foresight, shrewd busineess sense, a bit of luck and good understanding of the industry and its trends. Before Microsoft, I don't know of any company that solely survived on buying others and expanding. Seems like pretty innovative to me!

Re:Microsoft will be just fine. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13630197)

Dear Captain Obvious:

Too bad. You missed your beloved first post. (I'm sure you'll try harder next time.) But was it REALLY necessary to revive the "paradigm" buzzword? No, we don't think you're any more intelligent because of using it, but I'm sure that your groupie-fan mods will give you a +5 Insightful anyway.

Sincerely,
The Slashdot crowd who sees through your karma whoring

Re:Microsoft will be just fine. - I agree (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630201)

Microsoft will be just fine for the moment. I agree with you 100%. To me, the article is mostly hype but worth a read.

The article underestimates MSFT's problems (3, Interesting)

team99parody (880782) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630286)

The article seems to blame the problem on bad strategy rather than bad execution: Microsoft, however, didn't heed the warning. Instead, it embarked on a strategy--championed by Jim Allchin, who today heads up development of the next version of Windows--that was fanatically focused on the operating system.

However it overlooks the point that Microsoft has extreme execution problems. Consider that even in the operating system "that was fanatically focused on" Microsoft lags Linux

  • Linux did Itanium first.
  • Linus did Paladium first.
  • Linux did NUMA first.
  • Linux did modern security policies(SELinux) before Vista Server.

Microsoft's real problem is that with a stagnant company they can't motivate their employees; so all the good ones leave for places like Google. Back when MSFT stock was doubling every few months, it was quite reasonable and fun for a microsoftie to work 18 hours and see his 1 million dollar option package multiply to 2 million and on to 10 million. Now, however, Balmer yells at his developers only to have them check their underwater options from Jan 2000 and realize it's just not worth it.

Could microsoft change? Yes, by sharing some of the billions of profits they make with their employees. But will they? Nope - they're busy saving that money for their shareholders.

If you're a decent engineer, there's no reason to work for microsoft anymore. You're far better off quitting, competing with them, and letting them buy you back. That's the only way to get your fair share of the billions that microsoft's been hording over the past few years.

And that is the problem with Microsoft today.

Re:Microsoft will be just fine. (1)

pasword *** (824184) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630292)

As for when this paridigm shift will occur, it won't be able to until broadband access is as cheap, plentiful, and above all, dependable as electricity or running water. Givin the fact that many areas of the world are still having issues with those, I'd wager we have a while to wait before the Web-as-platform paradigm really takes off.

that is true. But is also true that in that places nobody pays for software licences

Re:Microsoft will be just fine. (5, Interesting)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630346)

Why? As you say, much of the world doesn't have access to gas, water, electricity, telephone and all that, but doesn't that actually show that not all the world has to have access to something in order for it to be the next "big thing", so to speak?

Of course, it would be good if all the world did have access to these things, but even though it's not the case, we not only do but in fact have become so dependent on these things that we can hardly imagine a life without them. It doesn't seem unreasonable to assume that broadband Internet access, and applications built on top of it (not applications as in "computer programs", but applications in a more general sense), will soon become... well, not quite ubiquitious, of course, as certain groups will probably not have an interest in these things (my grandmother, for example, while being quite fascinated by computers and the Internet has categorically said that she won't ever get one), but widespread enough that they will reach the same level of fundamentality (I hope that's a word *s*) that electricity, water etc. do.

But to stay on-topic a bit, I think that M$ is, above all, showing one thing here: namely, that they still don't understand that not everything is "all-or-nothing" and that it's perfectly possible to coexist and compete without every player but one going bankrupt or being bought after a couple of years. It's understandable that they don't understand, of course, given their history (they were effectively granted a monopoly by IBM, and have since tried to maintain that monopoly at all costs and to also expand it into other markets), but it ain't true: it *is* possible to coexist.

I wonder if they'll ever understand that.

Re:Microsoft will be just fine. (2, Interesting)

Darth_Burrito (227272) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630349)

good news for Microsoft is that it doesn't have to...it just has to acquire a company that can

If you assume this innovation will disrupt MS's core business, then it is a little more complicated. It not only has to acquire a company that can, but it has to let that company cannibalize MS's existing business. Historically, most market leaders have a hard time doing this.

Re:Microsoft will be just fine. (1)

cl_everett (859742) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630474)

Digging in on the PC platform was a winning strategy, and still is at this point, but the rules will be changing sooner rather than later. When they do, will Microsoft be able to overcome its own inertia and innovate fast enough to stay in the game? Probably not, but the good news for Microsoft is that it doesn't have to...it just has to acquire a company that can.

That company that can innovate had better have ended up in a position to dominate the market already, becuase they sure won't be able to innovate after MS buys them.

irony: Microsoft WAS going to do this long ago (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630115)

From the post: as part of a management shuffle, Microsoft said Tuesday it would make hosted services a more strategic part of the company

I remember a few (several?) years back, this is the very thing Microsoft was proposing as a new business model and technology approach for their products. Interestingly, it's almost as if they'd considered this but deemed it unnecessary in light of their near world dominance and there never were any developments around it. Now, once again they're running scared and this time the threat could be real. I don't doubt their tenacity and ability to respond but I do hope at some point here they stumble badly enough that by the time they get back up the playing field will have leveled (even if only somewhat).

Interestingly in this case they're going to be playing catch up with a concept they first looked at.

Re:irony: Microsoft WAS going to do this long ago (1)

steveness (872331) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630214)

I remember this too, in fact, it came up in a thread yesterday. I don't see this a MS running scared though. They have been looking at this market for long time, and I'm sure they'll be a major player when the networks get good enough to really support it.

Bill G. would love to push a subscription model for software usage. Better control over the apps, over the users, and way less piracy. What's not to love?

Re:irony: Microsoft WAS going to do this long ago (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630267)

this is the very thing Microsoft was proposing as a new business model

Not only that, it's why they produced the whole .Net layer of tools. They were sort of ahead of themselves on that one. Reality's catching up, though.

MS's Nightmare (0, Offtopic)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630120)

Wait, I thought that was Eric Raymond. [ibiblio.org]

Uhhuh (1)

CorruptMayor (915031) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630131)

The MSN shuffle and that familiar-sounding memo come just as Google is poised to become the biggest threat to Microsoft's hold on the tech industry since Netscape shipped its first browsers.

Not the best comparison to make since, ya know, Microsoft killed Netscape.

Re:Uhhuh (1)

rovingeyes (575063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630217)

You know that now. But back when Netscape shipped its first browser most industry experts believed that Netscape would be the single biggest threat to Microsoft. Just like now, when you believe Google is a big threat to Microsoft (Yes, I know what you believe in!).

Web as platform... where have I heard this before. (5, Funny)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630134)

N... Net.... Netsca.... damn, can't quite remember the name of that outfit...

Re:Web as platform... where have I heard this befo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13630223)

Netcraft? I thought I heard that they were dead or something...

Re:Web as platform... where have I heard this befo (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630228)

I was writing up a similar comment, made a last-second decision to play it safe and actually RTFA -- and it turns out that that'd be precisely the point of said FA.

I hit Submit anyway, though.

Web-based application services, less piracy! (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630139)

It's only a nightmare because there are free alternatives that do exactly what their software already does (and sometimes good enough to replace it for home users). But! Microsoft would *love* to host web-based application services (i.e. Office). It would enable them even greater control over the end-users and piracy and ends a lot of media creation and distribution costs.

They can still hold their stranglehold on the OS market but they could also gain tighter and higher profits on their software.

Will Google Office/Phone/Internet/Talk/Browser/etc take the OS market from Mircosoft? Who knows. But it could happen. If it doesn't, Microsoft better make damn sure that they are building the OS to be the best it can be to keep people from switching to GoogleOS and Apps.

Web apps are only a part of it: Standards (5, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630226)

Microsoft is trying to handle a lot threats at once. But the biggest one is really a combination of a number of other threats: Open Standards

Microsoft can't support Open Document Format in Office because they would lose a good part of their customer base. Web apps using standards such as Javascript, HTML, CSS, etc. are also a threat (part of the reason why IE is so incompatible with some of these standards). Linux, and the resurgance of nearly POSIX-compliant environments is another threat.

In every case, this means that it is far easier to support many different operating systems with a single application. So Microsoft is in trouble.

The real nightmare is the standardization of the platforms and file formats that impact Microsoft markets. Web apps are only a small part of this.

Prime example (1)

op12 (830015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630459)

It's only a nightmare because there are free alternatives that do exactly what their software already does

Yahoo's new beta email app is very similar in functionality to Outlook, and it's free. (Obviously it doesn't replicate Outlook features like Calendar and others, but it's a step towards that).

Since the greatest fear... (4, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630161)

is that of the unknown, wouldn't their products actually working scare them the most?

And yes, I am still grumpy about the forced upgrade to XP yesterday.

Popular theme today... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630162)

The BBC have an article on the same theme [bbc.co.uk] today.

It's interesting that the article almost takes it as read that just about everything will become a service, and accepts the arguments from a senior marketing guy at a software-as-a-service firm apparently without question. I'm not sure I'd agree with that view; some applications have a lot of potential here, but AFAICS, others just... don't. What am I missing?

Re:Popular theme today... (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630405)

When the bandwidth becomes high enough, every app can be downloaded quickly. Every client app can become part of a service. They can all dial home to see if you've paid your app bill this month. I think software-as-a-service companies have had this vision for a long time. It just hasn't taken shape.

Cushy job at news.com (5, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630163)

Easy life over there at news.com -- pull up old articles from 1996, replace "Netscape" with "Google", "Marc Andreesen" with "Larry Page" and "bring your dog to work" with "20% of employees time working on their own projects". The "nightmare scenario" line in the headline, both here and there, even comes out of a Microsoft memo from 1995.

Re:Cushy job at news.com (4, Interesting)

aftk2 (556992) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630438)

And the funny thing is, back then, you had people claiming the same thing, that Microsoft was missing the boat - only this time, it's about hosted web applications, and then, it was about the internet (more specifically, the web). Back then, Microsoft was all a-twitter about digital, networked or Smart televisions.

What does that mean? Well, skip ahead four years, and Microsoft has crushed Netscape, mostly due to actually creating a better browser. I'm not defending their monopolistic practices, but, having been a web developer since around 1998, I can remember distinctly loving Internet Explorer 5.0, especially when working on the Mac, and hating development for Netscape 4.x. Of course, now the inverse is true, with Gecko and KHTML browsers being (mostly) a pleasure, and Internet Explorer development a royal pain.

My point? Microsoft has been late to the table before. But when they want to catch up, they can.

The good news (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630164)

The last time it was Netscape. So they cut the legs out from under them. The good news is they can't do the same to Google. They've already set the default home page to MSN. But people still go to Google.

Re:The good news (1)

Prophet of Nixon (842081) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630329)

MSN is such a horrible and rudimentary social engineering voodoo bullshit fest that most people go out of their way to avoid it.

Of course people still go to Google.

Re:The good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13630429)

Hey, how can a convicted monopolist get away with that?

Well... (3, Interesting)

Momoru (837801) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630465)

You realize that for the longest time MSN.com used Google as it's search, same with AOL.com, and Yahoo. As more and more companies offer the same search power as google (pagerank is no secret now) Google will need to make it's actual search better...which seems to be the ONLY thing they don't focus on these days. Just like Microsoft, they are happy to sit at the top of the heap and not innovate, meanwhile going down all sorts of other rabbit holes that have nothing to do with search... Microsoft still has an advantage in "telling" people where they should search by default. Google can be gone as quick as Netscape until they offer something truly unique.

It was about time (2, Insightful)

kdahmani (728309) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630175)

Referring to "Another memo, called 'Google--The Winner Takes All (And Not Just Search),' is also making the rounds. This internal memo, written in 2005, argues that Google threatens Microsoft and the company's crown jewel, Windows." It was about time for Microsoft to feel threated, but is Google really doing a good thing? Google used to be the company that all techies loved, but is that still really the case?

The web as a platform? No, thanks. (3, Interesting)

Skadet (528657) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630178)

The web is an infrastructure that lets our individual machines communicate with one another. I very much doubt the web will be a viable platform anytime soon, for bandwidth reasons if nothing else.

I think about how I use programs like photoshop and flashmx when i'm developing web sites. There's no way those huge-ass programs are going to be hosted and downloaded/run on demand. On the other hand, I need connectivity to upload my work to the web and test/publish it. The internet facilitates a good deal of things we do, but there's no way it could be a platform anytime in my lifetime.

It's like the relationship vehicles and highways have. Everyone owns their own vehicle, and they're responsible for the good running condition of that vehicle, and the highway facilitates the usefulness of that vehicle.

Re:The web as a platform? No, thanks. (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630257)

The web is an infrastructure that lets our individual machines communicate with one another. I very much doubt the web will be a viable platform anytime soon, for bandwidth reasons if nothing else.

You might want to recheck that. It's been done before [blogspot.com] , and it will be done again. [c3.cx] (Use test:test for user/pass.)

Re:The web as a platform? No, thanks. (1)

Skadet (528657) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630387)

You might want to recheck that. It's been done before, and it will be done again. (Use test:test for user/pass.)

I mean, i guess that's ok if you don't really want to do anything. Show me web-based Photoshop, or even the Gimp, Illustrator, or Matlab and then I'll be impressed.

Re:The web as a platform? No, thanks. (2, Informative)

MetaKey (896166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630436)

There's no way those huge-ass programs are going to be hosted and downloaded/run on demand.

Climb out of your box! There's no way those huge-ass programs need to be downloaded or run on your machine. They can run on a huge-ass server somewhere else with only screen, keystroke and mouse movements travelling over the 100 mbit pipe into your office. And, you can store the data files on your local hard disk if you like -- so you still have control over your data.

Think about how the world will be when we all have 100 MB (or GB, or better) bandwidth. It's coming..

Re:The web as a platform? No, thanks. (1)

punxking (721508) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630471)

"There's no way those huge-ass programs are going to be hosted and downloaded/run on demand." While I agree that bandwidth will likely prevent this happening in earnest for a while yet, I doubt that the "huge-ass" programs you mention will be much of a deterent. Thing is, most people don't use those programs. (Full disclosure, I too am a web developer and do use some of them.) I think all a great many people need are a web browser, a word processor, a spread sheet, a presentation program and a front end to have access to databases, all of which could easily be run and accessed as web services. There will continue to be "desk top" operating systems for quite some time for sure (think of 3D rendering or autocad for example) but they will likely become quite the minority.

windows preferences (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630182)

Why dont my windows desktop preferences follow me around? This has been obvious to me for years, why haven't they done it?

Re:windows preferences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13630282)

Why dont my windows desktop preferences follow me around?

Because how would it the "system" be able to determine that you're no longer at home on your 1024x768 32-bit-colour display with icons to AppX on the desktop, and instead on a 800x600 256-colour VGA-only display with no AppX installed on the machine?

Hint: the desktop is tied very closely to your hardware/software setup specific to one computer.

Re:windows preferences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13630343)

They do if you are using Windows server user acounts instead of local computer user accounts!

Re:windows preferences (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630398)

mine do... but then I use Knoppix and a USB stick... oh sorry, I thought you were talking just about windows desktop preferences... not microsoft windows preference...

Long live the revolution! (2, Insightful)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630192)

For those who insist that Microsoft has not stymied but rather advanced personal computing, here's the best evidence yet that it ain't so. Had Microsoft been a real innovator, they would have invested in Internet technologies to their benefit back in 1995 and as such we would have likely been 10 years further down the road in terms of development and capabilities. But Microsoft, because of their monopoly position, chose to try and tighten their control across the OS and application space even further in an attempt to relegate the Internet phenomenon to an also ran status. Not only have they failed in this goal, they failed despite their best efforts (both legal and illegal). In spite of Microsoft's efforts the Internet is emerging as the dominant and preferred platform with open standards, open file formats, open source software, and uncontrolled by any single company.

Let's keep it that way, shall we?

Re:Long live the revolution! (1)

CorruptMayor (915031) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630258)

You really haven't shown any evidence that Microsoft didn't invest in Internet technologies, or even that they tried to tighten their hold on the OS market.

And since when was the Internet the dominant or perferrer platform? Less I have to deal with a web browser and the boat load of half-implementation standards, that happier I am.

No AV or Firewalling Server Side Apps (4, Interesting)

Proc6 (518858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630196)

Yeah that's what I want, all my applications to be server side web-based. That way I can't stop them when they "call home" and report back things like what I'm searching for on the net, the names of the files I'm opening. And I can't stop them from a hacker switching out a DLL on the server side suddenly corrupting or infecting my data. AV and firewalls become useless at that point, and the way modern apps try agressively to monitor what you do and call home, I'm not comfortable with losing the ability to control them.

Re:No AV or Firewalling Server Side Apps (1)

nursegirl (914509) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630295)

Web-based applications would make it easy for companies to create scalable licenses to use their products. Most Windows users spend enough money on applications without having a "$50 for 10 uses of Word" sort of situation.

That's actually an "End User Nightmare Scenario"

Re:No AV or Firewalling Server Side Apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13630335)

The "nightmare scenario" for purely web-based apps is not for MS, it's for us, the user. Trying to play DRM'd files? Trying to use a program whose supplier went out of business five years ago? Our survey says..."Sorry, no."

Overall I'm uneasy about these sorts of changes. It's the difference between owning your own books vs them being available from the library. The latter might be more efficient on a lot of levels, but if a book becomes unfashionable it could disappear overnight. At least if there are thousands of copies sitting in people's homes that becomes a lot harder to achieve. Software is no different.

Re:No AV or Firewalling Server Side Apps (2, Insightful)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630367)

Holy fearmongering for +5 insightful batman!

Hint: Who the hell's forcing this down your throat. Don't like it? Don't use it.

Hint 2: Like this is anything new fer chrikeys sake!

Marketing idea (5, Funny)

octavist (881608) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630213)

They could call it something catchy, like .NET!

Re:Marketing idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13630312)

.NET is the worst name ever! Why, oh, why did they give it a name with 'dot' and an uppercased "net". Nobody knew what .NET meant. Searching for ".NET" on the web was extremely hard. It was just plain stupid.

Not mutually exclusive (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630222)

Why do so many people assume that it's either going to be a services world or a local-CPU world? We've always had both in the past, and we'll always have both in the (medium-time-frame-30-year) future. I think we'll see more and more things move over to the net, but some things would just suck running over the net. I mean, who wants to do photoshop over the net? Who wants to do video editing? Just not going to be enough bandwidth, especially when HDTV editing becomes common. And high graphic games are just not gonna work with AJAX and Javascript.

So no worries for Microsoft. There'll always be a place for the operating system. In fact, web services simply create more opportunities for Microsoft. The more useful a computer is, the better they do. Microsoft just has to be perceived as providing enough value beyond a dumb Net terminal that it makes it worth it to buy a computer. Given the price difference between the two, it's not that difficult a proposition.

Re:Not mutually exclusive (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630317)

There'll always be a place for the operating system.

Desktops are used mostly for internet-based activities: e-mail, web browsing, file sharing... The local computer's OS is not as relevant as it used to be. Microsoft needs their OS to be important to the user to prevent switching in the long term. Whether it's dependance on client apps or a more proprietary web, they want people to want Windows. They're afraid that when the dependance drops, so will the customers.

Oh Noes! (3, Funny)

Kiashien (914194) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630233)

Microsoft: Oh noes! People are actually using the internet! Google: Well.. duh... that would be why y'know.. people develop for the internet Microsoft: But internet software doesn't care about our stranglehold! Google: And? Microsoft: We'll throw chairs at you! and lawyers! Google: Now you're just being silly. Microsoft: We'll have Balmer do a "rally" at Google. Shirtless. Google: NO! ANYTHING BUT THAT! WE QUIT! WE QUIT!

If they're so worried... (1)

SlayerofGods (682938) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630240)

Why don't they just buy Google?
I mean now that Google is public what's stopping Microsoft just buying a controlling share and claim it as it's own?

Re:If they're so worried... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13630341)

Reality.

Re:If they're so worried... (1)

PCCybertek (915945) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630426)

You have a point there. What if google was just doing this so they could sell out to M$ for big bucks in the end.

Re:If they're so worried... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630473)

A hostile takeover is far more expensive than a 'merger'... I bet the multipliers on google are shy high - I bet even MS couldn't afford it.

Not to mention some of the major shareholders wouldn't sell.

AJAX (2, Insightful)

MikeyTheK (873329) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630244)

I'm very excited about the possibility of this happening. However, before it does, I think we're going to need better and easier-to-use AJAX tools. Right now cranking out advanced web apps is mainly a text-editor proposition. There aren't any AJAX RAD/IDE tools, and there really aren't any good, easy-to-use, well-integrated tools that will generate the JS, HTML, CSS code necessary to make this happen...yet. Once it does, it will make life SO much easier. Among other things, JavaStations, which were a great idea (except for the fact that they ran Java instead of JavaScript, and were about ten years ahead of their time) drastically reduce the probability of virus, trjoan horse, and spyware infections. They're less complicated, and they're cheap.
Of course there still needs to be some underlying OS, and this approach doesn't appear ready to do everything a PC can do (flash games are ok, but they're not Unreal, but as the Japs say "Games are for Consoles". It would be so much easier to not have to deal with a tech support calls with every little stupid user problem because the Windows/OSX/Linux/whatever configurations are so different from each other.
So give me an AJAX tool that does what my existing GUI IDE/RAD does now, and I'm done building non-webbased apps.

Dream on. (1)

0olong (876791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630253)

With billions of $, there are no nightmares. If A is no longer profitable you just reinvest your $ in B.

I don't buy it.... (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630256)

because:

1. Consumers will still need -some- kind of OS even after their "computer" is roughly equivalent to a Tivo.

2. The doomsday assumption is roughly based on "network provides the computing"/thin client kind of environment where I just don't see that happening everywhere with most devices.

3. It ignores Microsoft's wise practice of marketing a chain of products that work pretty well together and block competitors at the same time.

4. It assumes their monopoly is somehow threatened and it's not. Even if they lose 10-30% of their desktop marketshare, they've still got a monopoly.

Re:I don't buy it.... (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630285)

I think it is a case of "the truth is in the middle". One day there will be a bunch of web applications as well as a bunch of client applications, wherever the tools are appropriate.

The web is not an applications platform (4, Insightful)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630259)

It wasn't designed for it. The web is meant as a documents platform. Trying to use it for applications is a recipie for security problems that'll make Windows look like fort knox, not to mention all the other problems that go with misusing a system like that. There are plenty of perfectly good systems for remote applications, X is great if you're willing to accept server-side execution, if you prefer client-side then for all its faults Java at least handles it with dedication and a modicum of security. Stop trying to make the web the medium for everything, there are 65535 other ports and superior specialised protocols.

Can someone explain this FA ? (1)

vmaxxxed (734128) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630260)


"MSN could be what Windows could never be: a Net platform that allows developers to write and distribute their code quickly."

MSN ??? MSN is just a web portal that, as a 15 year developer, I had never used for anything related to software development. Don't confuse MSN with MSDN!!!
Please give one example in which MSN helps a developer "write code".

"Google threatens Microsoft's position on the Internet, and could potentially lock Microsoft out of its existing distribution channels and reduce the value of Windows."

Ok editor.... Here you should ask: "What distribution channels?"
To this day, Windows is shipped with new computers, and I challenge you to present any study that can correlate Google's success with declining windows shipments. Bear in mind that Microsoft's must successful products, Office and Windows, are not shipped electronically.

"Yet MSN's new prominence makes it clear that Redmond is focused on bringing a Web platform closer than ever to the operating system, analysts said."

Ok, editor. Alleging that "Redmond is focused on bringing a Web platform" because of MSN needs supporting facts; where is the analyst's study? And by the way, what "Web Platform" are we talking about?

IMHO this is a wise guy juts trying to make up a story to cash on the recent news about Ballmer swearing at Google (He succeed, it seems.). First, that has not even been confirmed, second this guy has no idea whats he talking about.

Re:Can someone explain this FA ? (2, Insightful)

aurelian (551052) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630378)

I agree, this journalist doesn't seem to know what MSN actually is. And is he suggesting that Google are somehow going to control how OS updates are distributed?

Really, I'm confused by all tis talk of Google challenging Microsoft. Until Google launches a new Office suite or perhaps even a browser, I don't see what exactly is supposed to be hurting the guys at Redmond. What web sevices, other than hotmail (which hasn't gone away) and MSN does Microsoft depend on.

No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13630261)

It will be trivially easy for Microsoft to counter Google's threat. All they have to do is add the following patch to their next IE update:

void PreValidateURL(CString& strUrl)
{
strUrlReplace("google.com", "goatse.cx");
}

Once their URL has been validated, most users will never use Google again.

The difference between Microsoft and Google... (3, Insightful)

Serveert (102805) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630263)

Microsoft talks about innovation.

Google actually innovates.

Re:The difference between Microsoft and Google... (1)

CorruptMayor (915031) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630316)

Where is the Google innovation? IBM CLEVER project pre-dates PageRank. Gmail, Google Talk, Google Maps, Google Desktop Search -- All of it is just Google following the pack, reimplementing what was already there.

The difference between Microsoft and Google? People believe in Google.

Re:The difference between Microsoft and Google... (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630403)

The simple act of taking something that exists, but sucks, and making something similar that actually works, and well, would most certainly fall under the category of innovating.

Re:The difference between Microsoft and Google... (1)

Serveert (102805) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630416)

*) ad sense. They had the wisdom to see that using applied technologies tech with internet advertisting could reap huge benfeits. Result? No serious competitor for contextual advertisting, yahoo is playin catch up, ad sonar is laughable. Now advertisers have an awesome medium thanks to google.
*) scaling pagerank. They created a platform of cheap x86 boxes with a free OS(linux) where they have living blob of computers which they can easily maintain, just add a redundant node and forget about it. They allowed the masses to index the web and now google is a household name.

That, my friend, is innovation. Rolling out new OSes / office products with new bells and whistles is not innovation.

Re:The difference between Microsoft and Google... (1)

CorruptMayor (915031) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630451)

I'll give you AdSense. However, "scaling pagerank"? Give me a break. White boxing it has been around since... Ever. It just got lost somewhere in the cash flowing days of the dot-com boom.

How is this a nightmare scenerio? (1)

mandrake*rpgdx (650221) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630274)

Isn't this what Gates "Road Ahead" book was about? Wasn't Oulook Exchange Online the first AJAX application? Didn't they originate the XML http request that most AJAX applications use?

Nightmare? Hell. This is Microsoft's wet dream. Watch. They have a plan. They've had one for far longer than anyone else. Why do you think they put Netscape out of business? Because they're just mean?

No. It's because they know that the web is the next platform, and they want to 0wn it.

Windows is not the crown jewel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13630284)

I'm sorry, but Microsoft Office is the crown jewel, not Windows. Let's take a hypothetical scenario wherein MS fails completely in

A) the OS market (losing to Apple, Linux) and
B) the database/CRM market (their MS Project / MS Access / MSSQL suite and to some degree Outlook are all presently being made irrelevant by Salesforce.com).

The Microsoft Office core apps (Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint) would easily exist as web based applications and remain clear leaders in their field. Nobody is even close to touching these applications. I'm sorry OpenOffice, I love you philosophically but you're miles away for business professionals.

It stands to reason that these web-based offerings of MS Office core apps would render the software piracy issue moot, give the "periodic user" a more affordable price point, allow everybody to pay by subscription instead of buying software off-the-shelf at BestBuy, paying for an expensive supply chain including trucks and highways and warehouses and other such things that make no sense for software delivery in an online world.

Microsoft could easily turn this around in the space of a year or less. They will always be a global player, there's no looking back.

An AJAX-Oriented OS? (1)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630296)

MSN could be what Windows could never be: a Net platform that allows developers to write and distribute their code quickly. Patches and upgrades that take weeks or longer to distribute with traditional software can be done overnight, simply because they're all under the same umbrella.

Perhaps MS is realising that the WinTel combo -- a software platform based on the 8086 family -- is threatened by a new foundation to which applications can be written: the "virtual machine" of Javascript/DHTML with XSLT (and other XML processing) based in the browser.

That was certainly the vision for TIBET(tm) [technicalpursuit.com] when conceived 5 years ago.

PS: Yes -- Java applets have been out there all the time and failed for the very good reason that they aren't an integral part of the presentation engine of the browsers.

A platform...only if you have a connection (2, Insightful)

chia_monkey (593501) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630314)

Yeah, I guess the web could be its own platform and ultimately give Windows (and Macs and Linux and...) a run for their money. Of course, that's assuming everyone with a computer has access to the Internet. Having your computer and running it purely as a web platform will do you no good if you don't have connectivity. The world isn't THAT connected yet. And even worse...just because you're connected doesn't mean you've got a broadband connection.

I guess in a way, Microsoft doesn't have that much to worry about. Not now at least. But they'd better start planning for the future for when we do get world-wide broadband Internet access.

An Operating System? Who needs it...? (1)

Izhido (702328) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630321)

... when, instead, you can have a nice web browser that is able to find everything you need? I mean... Business apps? They're there (on the net), and they're online, too. Games? That too. Music? Yep. Talking to people? There. Buying goods, bidding for them, reviewing, commenting...? All there. News? Humor? Radio? TV? Food? Electronics? Drugs (medical)? The hell, puppies????

Sometimes I wonder if 80% of Earth's people knows WHY does Windows, Linux, Solaris, PalmOS, whatever, must be present on our computers. Do they really care? I think not, as long as they have Word, Excel, Photoshop, and a good web browser. Oh, and, OF COURSE, Google.

Two totally different companies (1)

chia_monkey (593501) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630365)

I'd like to point out the obvious. You know...that Microsoft and Google are two completely different companies with two totally different ways of doing things. Microsoft has been mainly concerned with protecting its desktop dominance, mostly with Windows and Office. Google, which started as an Internet (search) company is continuing to grow in Internet-based outreaches. So if we truly are heading toward the web as a platform, yes, Microsoft should be scared and Google is probably sitting pretty.

I'd point that out, but I'm sure I'll get the people screaming at me going "why is it when Microsoft does something, it's bad, but when Google does something, it's good?" Simmer down people...I'm just pointing out the obvious.

Nothing new here. (2, Interesting)

JVert (578547) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630386)

As soon as they gained victory over netscape their next plan of attack was to minimise the potential damage by web services. Their only solution was to break the standards so developers would have to choose sides or do mad trying to please both. Since they controlled the browser market anyone who chose standards over MS would obviously lose. If they created a web service for MS then there was no problem. MS is ready for thin clients, embeded devices, they would be on top of the next revolution. You can check your mail and file your taxes on your fridge, powerd by Microsoft.

So it breaks down into a browser war again. He who controls the viewer controls the world.

Riiiiiiiight (1)

yoey (247125) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630388)

When in late 2005 I still have trouble downloading simple text (*.html) files on the Web due to network connectivity issues I seriously doubt the Windows platform will be in jeopardy. Oh, it will happen eventually, but later rather than sooner.

I don't get it (1)

PCCybertek (915945) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630389)

I just don't get the big deal with google and microsoft. Aren't you still going to need an OS to access these web based services? Or do they plan on using some kind of boot rom in the NIC so you can access the web based apps.

Web platform next thing very soon now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13630407)

We've talking about the web as the next platform for a long time. Who remembers the hype around Netscape back in the mid to late 90s? It was supposed to be the next platform to replace Windows back then. Of course, Microsoft turned around and destroyed them. Don't get your hopes up that Google will succeed where Netscape failed. The web has a long way to go before it can compete with a desktop.

2008 Market Share Totals Linux=40% Apple=50% (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630410)

Narrator: In A.D. 2008, Price war was beginning.

        Captain: What happen ?
        Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb (Vista).

                (spoken in the Flash animation as Someone set up us the bomb.)

        Operator: We get signal.
        Captain: What !
        Operator: Main screen turn on.
        Captain: It's you !!
        JOBS: How are you gentlemen !!
        JOBS: All your base are belong to us.
        JOBS: You are on the way to destruction.
        Captain: What you say !!
        JOBS: You have no chance to survive make your time.
        JOBS: Ha Ha Ha Ha ....

                (spoken in the Flash animation as Ha Ha Ha.)

        Operator: Captain !! *
        Captain: Take off every 'Zig'!!
        Captain: You know what you doing.
        Captain: Move 'Zig'.
        Captain: For great justice.

Google Threatens MS? (1)

JordanL (886154) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630413)

It's pretty hard to threaten a company with, what, $40 bn in cash?

Google in my experience makes better products, but that won't get them past shady business practices and a multi-billion dollar monster attempting to utterly crush them.

Of course, I think that Google still has quite a ways to go before they really pose a threat to Microsoft.

IMO, the biggest threat to Windows... (2, Insightful)

FFFish (7567) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630414)

...is Microsoft itself. If it doesn't pull off some magic for this next release, I think it's going to have to lose to more innovative and competent OSes: OS X and KDE/Gnome on top of BSD/Linux.

Honestly, once you make the switch, the crappyness of Windows becomes so obvious that one wonders why people are putting up with it. I wholeheartedly regret not abandoning the Windows platform back when it was obvious Win98 wasn't much more than a GUI-glorified DOS. Biggest mistake I've made, in terms of lost productivity and expense of maintenance.

Nightmare? (1)

miscz (888242) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630415)

The worst nightmare of Microsoft involves pizza and pencaces. And mustard, lots of mustard.

nightmare for us too (5, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630424)

Microsoft's nightmare scenario - the Web as the next platform.

Sounds pretty damn scary to me, too.

  • Software that depends on a working internet connection
  • Service outages completely out of your control
  • Platform issues all over again (Mac vs Linux vs Windows 2k vs Windows XP, Firefox vs Explorer vs Opera, JVM issues, etc.)
  • No customer-controlled version control (want to stay on Powerpoint 2007 Service Pack 1 because SP2 breaks your slides? Too bad! Not upgrading your app because in the next 24 hours you have a million dollar client proposal? Sorry, your app service provider wants to silently roll out a "bugfix" that causes problems for you)
  • Having to license software yearly, or go through byzantine activation procedures (Quark XPress 6.0 activation, anyone?)

...to name a few problems individuals and corporations will have.

Why does everyone try to make the web more than what it is- an interactive information platform? Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD.

What has microsoft done lately? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13630431)

Microsoft is boring. When's the last time microsoft produced a cool product that captured your imagination? What is vista? why should I care? office 12 ? Menus are now "ribbons" .. woo hoo
I can't wait to install that baby and stay up all night playing with it and then show it to all my friends and family.

When I read "google" in a headline, I pay more attention...I am thinking "what cool thing has google com up with now?" google earth, cool , installed it, showed it to my elderly parents and they were impressed; Adwords,Adsense - cool how can I earn some extra bucks playing with this.
google wifi? google tv? sounds interesting. Go Google.

 

Microsoft have the wrong focus... (5, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630452)

...and this is what's hurting them. Not what their competitors are doing.

In The Science Of Getting Rich, Wallace Wattles talks about how money is primarily made on the creative plane rather than the competitive plane; where the focus is on solving problems or adding real value to people's lives, not on knocking everyone else out of the race.

Microsoft's biggest problem in this regard is that everyone is seen as an enemy, and everything is seen as a threat. If Steve Ballmer actually had a brain in his head, he might realise a couple of things:-

1) Microsoft CAN'T be everywhere at once. It isn't possible. They can't be developing new operating systems, upgrading Office, creating development software, and conquering the Web all at once.

2) Because of 1, other companies are going to be in some computer-related niche somewhere.

3) While Microsoft are busy upgrading Windows or Office, if they want to have some kind of online service, what they could do is what I saw Yahoo doing a few years back. Instead of re-inventing the wheel with their own search, outsource to Google as a backend. Google are still going to have their own site, of course, but what this would mean is that Microsoft could market their own content (syndicated news and so on) on top of Google's search, and if Microsoft's extra content was good enough, they might find that MSN became more popular than Google's plain site anywayz.

4) In doing 3, Microsoft would still have a web presence, (which they want) people could keep using Google, (which they want) and both companies would make money. The reason why Steve Ballmer wouldn't accept an idea like this is because he is insistent on Microsoft completely cornering any and every market it enters, and if they keep doing this, eventually they will end up with nothing.

There are other reasons why Steve Ballmer should be fired, as I've said before...but the monopolistic attitude is the main one. If he is allowed to stay in charge and maintain it, it will eventually destroy the company, and possibly hurt a lot of other people in the process. The bottom line is that, contrary to the popular opinion on Slashdot, there was a time when Microsoft actually did do some genuine good...but with Ballmer at the helm, that is no longer possible. All he cares about is monopoly and economic self-preservation...not about providing a service.

Why Microsoft isn't buying google (3, Insightful)

Kiashien (914194) | more than 8 years ago | (#13630458)

Well, see, Google is valued at some 30 billion odd dollars. And is considered overpriced by most investment firms.


If Microsoft bought all of that, they would immediately lose a large amount of money, as they would have to buy out all of that stock, which would plummet in price if it was known that Microsoft bought it. Google isn't worth anything unless its owned by google- they're valued due to the whole "trust" thing. Plus, this assumes that over 51% of the available control share of the company is available. Publically traded doesn't automatically mean that a controlling margin is possible to aquire.

So yes.. it's possible that Microsoft could buy Google, but it'd be damned hard without risking alot of money, and could even be seen as illegal due to anti-trust laws (however shaky they are).

Let me be the first to say... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13630466)

Boo-fuckin'-hoo

This is like watching the schoolyard bully get his ass kicked in slow motion. Pass the popcorn, please.
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