Sunday, October 09, 2005

Google Vs Microsoft : War of Paradigm

Now a days you can't go to a technology discussion board or  a business news portal without hearing a remark about the ongoing bloodshed between Google and Microsoft . All self proclaimed IT wizard, Market   analyst and blogger are bidding for your attention with there version of what is going on and what is the solution or who will be winning the battle . Everybody support there argument with insider information from trusted source , sources who are close to the both camps .


For the record I want to clarify I have no such source and all the views mentioned hereafter are purely a creation of my own brain this is my version of the " Clash Of Titans" and any resemblance to  final outcome will be a fluke or purely coincidental .


HERO & UNDERDOG : The actors in the drama

Everybody loves Google ,it's a great site  started by two bright young men from Stanford and for sometime they were everyone's   good guy and nobody other than the early stage investors thought much about there search  technologies . than in an environment where market was slowly recovering from a downturn , IT spending were moving up , Amazon has shown profit for the first time in 5 years   people were looking for investing in tech stocks there was the Google IPO and windfall of $  come to the Google . now when you have   billion of $ of investors money you need to do something with it . you have to take a mission, you have to do something which make you look like a Hero . and in this industry what can be more Heroic than fighting with Microsoft ,and fighting head on . thus a hero was born . for the last generation of "casualties of Microsoft " (read Netscape and Linux ) this   hero was there another chance . they give him there blessing ( along with there browser and there Ex-C.E.O )  .Suddenly Google was in the eye of storm. From a Valley start up It became   a threat to The dominance of Microsoft .


With so much of noise it was inevitable that Microsoft would remain oblivious , they assembled there crack team of geeks they codename the project as "Underdog "   and launched a invasion to outset the Hero as the default destination for internet search . and there Microsoft committed there first mistake .  by doing so Microsoft acknowledged Google as the worthy adversary . classic rule of War is never to challenge the enemy on his own turf . you don't have a chance to win , remember USA was not able to beat Vietnam and still not able to find laden . Microsoft missed the point that why Google got such momentum ? and why they were so hard to beat ?   well  one reason that I can think of is that they are not trying  to replace OS ,they are only making it irrelevant . up until now Redmond giant never   faced anyone with the intention of changing the perception of Computing as we know it  . in past  battles where Microsoft won , every one was fighting in the eco system of desktop computing, the turf of   Microsoft but suddenly there is a company who doesn't attack directly and to beat them you have to go to there turf and start from a point of weakness . and that's what makes Bill Gates uneasy .




Define The Battle: Behind Enemy Line


Now to there credit Google core team has never said anything on record about the intentions of replacing Microsoft but the expectation is there . Some are born great ,some acquire greatness and on some   greatness is forced . sadly same can be said about martyr also .  in my view this ongoing war is somewhat over hyped and over chronicled and things got snowballed . in all the hype nobody cared to define the battle .


Question is what are we fighting  for ? what if we win ?   and What if we loose  ?


For  most diehard fans of Google  the company is fighting for beating Microsoft . for me   that argument is bogus you don't go on war just to beat somebody. at least not in business  you go to war with some company because either they encroach your territory   or they are an obstacle in your growth . strangely both of the conditions are not there in this battle , As long as Google wants to make money from selling targeted ads Microsoft has no problem .


when some enthusiast tell me that  one day  Google will launch Google office and we will have all our data lying on Google servers so any desk top application like MS Office will be out of market   I can only smile in amusement .well  sometime back same people said that digital office will be paper less and E- Commerce will make dollar bills virtually non existence . I am only 27 and don't think that   any of these things  will happen in my life time . there will always be paper and there always be dollar bills . people will always prefer to store there files on there disk .


If you are in Microsoft  you can ask "so what is it we are up against ?" my answered is you are up against your self . Sometime back there was a company named DEC they created Minicomputer and pulled carpet under the feet of IBM and other makers of Mainframes   this was an incremental innovation  it may have caused a loss of few millions to  Mainframe industry but it doesen't disturbed the whole eco system of Mainframe based computing . Then there was a paradigm shift   and world began to shift toward desktop computing suddenly DEC was irrelevant they missed a  paradigm shift which was fatal . Point is as long as you do incremental innovation with in the existing eco system there is always room for few more players . but suddenly someone from outside do a disruptive innovation and whole eco system is swapped . this is how Microsoft made a mark and this is what Google has stumbled upon . the whole point is   that BATTLE IS NOT BETWEEN GOOGLE VS MICROSOFT : IT IS BETWEEN "DESKTOP ECO SYSTEM"  VS "WEB SERVICE ECO SYSTEM"  


Ever since the dominance of windows in established from Windows 3.1 to Longhorn , Microsoft is too busy doing incremental innovations . but truth about Hi Tech market is that incremental innovation doesn't create news   you have to be a " Bull in The China Shop" to get the eye balls . sum guys from Mc Kinsey call it " Creative Destruction" and the published a whole book around it . I Think much of it is crap . Bull in china shop is not always good, for the obvious reasons people are not comfortable with a bull around if they are running a china shop. For past some time the same war is being fought although in a less celebrated manner in the market of CRM Software between SAP,Siebel Vs although has craved a niche for themselves but still its not likely that they will replace sieble and SAP of world in near foreseeable future .


Why ? because  big business of world are not comfortable with the idea of there critical data   stored on a remote server and sitting next to your competitors data everybody wants there data to be within there premises . that is the main bottleneck . Now we should accept the fact that Microsoft is Microsoft today because some very very big business choose to back it and Enduser accept it as a fate of life . I am not a very big fan of Windows or Microsoft .In my view during a paradigm shift when territory is   unexplored ,people accept whatever they are offered with out thinking  much because much of the time they don't have a choice . It happened with Sony In VHS-Beta Format war , With Windows   In the war for desktop OS . and with IE in war with Netscape . it's the backing of big boys which matter more than the substance of your product . we all know that Beta was more technically sound ,Mac was having a better interface and Netscape was a better browser but does that change anything now ?   So the point is when you are out there to conquer the world you can't do as a lone-warrior ,size does matter  and what I do see is that   Google is a company hyped by enthusiast like me  or nerds like my friends in the business of code writing .


I can see that there will be no clear winner or looser in this battle . world is too big to accommodate both eco systems. only happy outcome of this war will be that it will perhaps validate   web service as a acceptable way of doing business . but that too will be restricted  to there niches . perhaps in future we will have enthusiast, Mom & POP Stores and   SME's working on web service and Big guys using application or better still hosted application on there own server .


Will Microsoft be hit ? YES  in a substantial way.  More than financials or anything this forced war will take  toll on its image of "King Of the technology hill" . There will be lot more stories of Tug Of War for talent and media will have a good time reporting them .


Business Sense In Future Tense :The Road Ahead 

Now if there is anything which make me very happy in the whole drama is to see how both parties are preparing for the situation when they might have to loose . if you look at the actions of both camps closely you will observe both are trying to spread there risk across both platforms . If   Google    has launched its desktop tool bar then Microsoft's latest offering .Net is having web services in its central theme . no body wants to keep all there eggs in one basket. In edition to that Microsoft can find one more opportunity to come up with a RAD like tool for development of web services . .net frame work is still very very programmer friendly and doesn't appeal much to an average user . I think there   is enough room in market for a tool which can cut cost and complexity out of  web service creation and maintenance the way MS Front Page did for HTML Publishing and RSS did for Blogs .That might be a jump or a discontinuous innovation which Microsoft needs . but truly speaking I don't think this will happen in near foreseeable future, top brass of Microsoft   is too busy with the Antitrust trials and  Managing the Longhorn project . I seriously think that anything with the intention of taking over web service   space will be done only after this saga is over . Essentially that's suit Microsoft the company is known for pulling up good "Catch up Act "  and don't be surprise to read a cover story titled " Empire Strikes Back "  few  years after the current drama is over   or Don't be surprised to see few Antitrust battle .


 Its said no  one get a second chance in life to prove themselves specially when the stakes are too high but Eric Schmidt seems to have got it   for the third time  same is true for Gates ,Ballmer & Company . Drama is getting interesting. Enjoy the fight. but hold on to your chairs because Steve might need them to throw around .

Prashant Singh
Ladies & Gentelman ! Take My Advice
PullDown Your Pants & Slide on ICE


mp said...

My two bits :
FACTS : Good (few are not 100% accurate)

Anonymous said...

thanks mp i will work on that usually i need to write this stuff in haste , during the coffe bereak or while waiting for clientin lobby . that might explain it .
i will watch it
keep coming back